Sunday, March 8, 2015

Paths of peril: Todd Snyder

News-Press Sunday 3/8/15 Bike Safety Feature: Paths of peril

Janine Zeitlin, Melanie Payne and Laura Ruane,,

Each Southwest Florida bike death is a different, heartbreaking story...this is Todd Snyder's story.

Todd Snyder, 45

Crash date: Nov. 7, 2014

Todd Snyder had been a cowboy in California. Ranching was a fitting job for a man who preferred to be outdoors. He was a mechanic by trade. When work dried up, he returned to live with his mother, Barbara Snyder, in Lehigh Acres. On a Friday, Snyder rode his sister's old bike to a high school football game. Lehigh was playing Riverdale, his Alma mater.
Todd Snyder loved to fish and be outdoors. He was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bicycle at night last year.
(Photo: photo provided by family of Todd Snyder)
Early the next morning, Barbara's phone rang. She worried. The phone doesn't ring at 3:30 a.m. with good news. She was an emergency contact, the person on the line said, but didn't say for whom.

Ten minutes later, her body trembling and dressed in a robe, she opened the door to a stranger.

"Do you know Charles Todd Snyder?"

"Yes," she said. "He's my son."

"We're sorry to inform you he's been killed in a traffic accident."

Snyder was hit Nov. 7 around 11:10 p.m. along Sunshine Boulevard in Lehigh Acres. He didn't have lights on his bike, but his mother doesn't know if that would have made a difference because of the speed people drive there. She'd like more drivers to watch for bikes, and more bicyclists to use lights, which are legally required at night.

A week after his death, his family, including his 17- and 20-year-old sons, placed a white memorial ghost bike where he was killed. He also had a sister and three brothers.

Florida Highway Patrol is still searching for the driver. The vehicle was described as a red, mid-to-late 1990s General Motors car, maybe a Camaro, with white stripes. Troopers think the car may have specialty rims, tinted windows and frequents Lehigh Acres.

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