December 5th, 2005 08:25 EST
Ft. Pierce man dies in hospital as a result of Thanksgiving day accident
A Ft. Pierce man died of his injuries Saturday at St. Mary’s Medical Center 10 days after being struck by a vehicle as he rode his bicycle.
The man, later identified as Jorge Antonio Lopez, suffered an initial skull fracture and subdural bleed, hospital officials said at the time of the accident, due to the extent of his injuries. Police reports stated that once officers arrived on the scene, they found the victim on the sidewalk breathing, but unconscious.
The driver of the vehicle, Terry Motes, 44, of 120 Imperial Way, was charged with driving without insurance, having an unregistered vehicle, driving while license suspended and for failure to accept a summons.
It is unknown whether Motes will be charged with additional charges due to Lopez's death.
Police said Lopez was hit by Motes after he was driving at a high rate of speed, causing the victim to travel thirty feet in the air, before fleeing the scene and arriving at a nearby relative’s residence.
It was reported by witnesses that he was seen driving at a high rate of speed. Police reports stated that witness Bill Tillman followed Motes’ vehicle to Georgia and Kauffman Avenues and said he saw the vehicle pull into the yard of a nearby residence. He also said he saw a female passenger inside the vehicle.
Two relatives of Motes provided witness statements to police. Earlier police reports stated that two witnesses—both relatives of Motes—saw what happened. David Vrotny, 36, and Kimberly Vierling, 33, both of 812 Kauffman Avenue reported to police different accounts of what they saw.
Vrotny said he saw the vehicle's trunk being opened while Vierling said she saw the Cadillac being parked in the yard and saw the driver get out of the driver's seat of the car.
According to police, Vierling reportedly asked Motes what had happened, in which the suspect replied that a brick had hit the windshield of his vehicle. Vierling stated she knew he had hit someone based on the damage to the windshield, police reports stated.
The female passenger, Shannon Disher, 24, stated to police that the pair went to Circle K on Delaware and S. 17th Street to buy beer and that she didn't see anything until something hit the windshield on impact.
Police reports stated that, once police arrived on the scene, they found that Motes "had a strong sense of alcohol… his eyes were watery and bloodshot and his speech was slurred."
Motes stated he did not have a drivers license and presented his Florida ID card, police said. Police searched the vehicle where they found a Florida tag in the trunk which was not registered to that vehicle but to another.
The victim, who had no formal identification at the time of the accident, was transported to the Lawnwood Emergency Room and later taken by airlift to St. Mary's Trauma Center due to the extent of his injuries. He died Saturday morning as a result of his injuries.
The officer on the scene conducted a DUI investigation and asked Motes to consent to a blood test for evidence. Motes was arrested and transported to the St. Lucie County jail. It is unknown whether he has posted bond as of press time.
St. Lucie Circuit Court records show Motes has two previous DUI convictions, as well as other arrests for battery, disorderly intoxication and leaving the scene of an accident.