Victim of St. Pete hit-and-run hopes gun-waving driver is caught

A surveillance camera captured the moment a Pinellas County man riding his bike was clipped by a hit-and-run driver.  The cyclist was able to walk-away from the wreck, but investigators want the man behind the wheel off the streets.

For 75-year-old John Bentley, cycling is part of who he is.

“It makes me feel good physically and psychologically, I get a lot of joy from riding my bike,” he said.

Back on March 7, Bentley was pedaling home after a 35-mile ride when he got near the intersection of 26th Avenue South and 45th Street. That was where Bentley noticed a black SUV.

“I’m approaching the intersection, the car is slowing down, he didn’t have his blinker on but it was clear from the way he had his car angled that he was going to turn left,” said Bentley.

It was just before 3 p.m., and a nearby security camera captured the entire incident.

Instead of stopping to let Bentley pass, the driver plows into him and just keeps going.

“Catapulted me 10, 15 feet through the air, did a 360, and fortunately landed on kind of my left, right side,” he said.

People who saw the crash happen jumped into action.

“My dad ran and tried to help him, I ran and got in the car and tried to catch back up with him,” said Keyondra Walker.  “The next thing I know he waves a pistol out the window, so I backed off.”

Bentley went to the emergency room, suffering two broken ribs.  He knows he is lucky his injuries were not more severe. He landed in the grass, but could have easily been tossed into the nearby telephone pole or onto the pavement.

“I was really lucky, I was really, really lucky,” said Bentley.

Now he hopes someone will recognize the driver or his SUV and turn the man in. Investigators believe the man was driving, a black Mazda CX-7.

Since the crash, Bentley has gotten back on his bike, but tells us he’s nervous to ride like he used to.

“Even when I cross the street I’m afraid of cars now, I mean, really I stop and look three times, it’s changed my attitude on them, seem like a threat, you know," he added. "It’s pretty scary."