Good Samaritans tried to summon ambulance for collapsed Skyway 10K runner who later died

Eight thousand people ran the Skyway 10K Sunday. One of them never made it to the finish line.

With less than a mile to go, 48-year-old Justin Doyle had a cardiac event. He was later pronounced dead.

First responders and race organizers are being asked why ambulances were not able to get to him on the bridge.

Doyle's brother Lea spoke to FOX 13 from the The Horse and Jockey British Pub, the restaurant he owns in Pinellas County. He says he woke up on Sunday morning and saw Justin's Facebook post -- a picture of the fifth mile-marker on the course with a caption that said, "1 mile to go."

"That is real hard to look at," Lea said.

Within minutes of that 7:43 a.m. post, the aircraft engineer and leader of a foundation for cancer patients had collapsed.

"We had lunch on Monday and he had obviously been training and had been struggling a little bit," said Doyle. "He did tell me he was struggling. He was very proud. He wouldn't say exactly why he was struggling."

Elizabeth Wulff happened to be running by just after Doyle collapsed.

"I heard people start saying, ‘runner down, runner down,’" Wulff recalled.

She and several others, who said they were off-duty EMTs or nurse practitioners, started trying to cool Doyle down. Some tried chest compressions while others waved runners away, telling them to steer clear.

"Everyone was doing what they could," she said.

She says the group spent several minutes waving to an ambulance that was several hundred yards behind them. Others called 911.

Although a nearby officer came over, it's unclear if ambulance workers knew a runner was down.

Finally, a school bus transporting people to the Tropicana Field parking lot stopped to help.

"The nurse practitioner said, ‘Is there any way we can load and go to get him out of here?’" said Wulff. "I don't know what the delay is. I don't know if the runners are in the way. But the ambulances aren't coming."

Doyle was eventually loaded from the school bus into an ambulance and taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital.

By the time Lea got there, his brother was gone.

"He was grateful for anybody who did anything for him," Lea said.

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue released a statement Tuesday, offering condolences to Doyle’s family.

SPFR said it is, "coordinating with all the agencies involved in the response to conduct a comprehensive post-incident analysis in order to determine the facts surrounding this tragic incident."

Lea says he is not at all focused on the emergency response. He wants his brother’s legacy to be the foundation he started after he lost a stepdaughter to cancer.

The Hope Health and Sunshine Foundation has lost its guiding light.

"To lose your brother at that age, he is your best friend," said Doyle. "He followed me halfway around the world. It is just heartbreaking. I just want him back, I just miss him."

Organizers of the Skyway 10K also expressed condolences and said they are going to, "fully cooperate with efforts by St. Pete Fire Rescue to determine the facts surrounding this tragic incident."