16-year-old Clearwater hit-and-run victim, mother plea for driver to turn self in

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Sixteen-year-old Gary Kane is pretty “matter of fact” when he talks about the crash that almost cost him his life.

“I rode all the way down past the bike shop and the Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Kane. “I went all the way down to the railroads on Keene and right before that, that’s when I got hit.”

The driver left the scene. Now, Clearwater police are now looking for that individual.


The teenager says after the car hit him, he blacked out and woke up in a hospital bed. His injuries were extensive.

“Dislocated shoulder, six broken ribs, cracked pelvis,” he said. “And a shattered femur.”

The crash happened on March 30 at the intersection of Keene Road and Flagler Avenue. It was just before 11 p.m. as Kane was riding his bike home after finishing a shift at the McDonalds on Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

Courtesy: Clearwater Police Department

He has an app on his phone that alerts when something isn’t right. His mother, Patricia Dirling, saw that he was at that intersection for more than 20 minutes and went to check on him.

“So I got in my car, I drove up there, I got to Keene Road and just as I was getting ready to turn,” said Dirling. “And I saw all the cops and I grabbed my wheel and said, ‘God, please just let him be alive.'”

Police told Dirling the ambulance had already taken her son to All Children’s Hospital. When she arrived, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Her son’s broken and bruised body, lying lifeless on a hospital bed.

“I was heartbroken. I thought that he was dead on that table at the hospital,” said Dirling. “I didn’t think he was alive.”

Patricia Dirling says her son looked as if he was dead in the hospital

Her son not only survived but has made an impressive recovery. He still has to undergo physical therapy and hasn’t been able to return to work. He showed off the scar on his shoulder where doctors fused metal rods to his bones.

The Clearwater Police Department posted the following message on its Facebook page:

“On March 30, someone struck a bicyclist at Keene Road and Flagler Avenue and left the scene. We are seeking help from the public to find the driver of that black car, possibly a four-door vehicle. The bicyclist was in the crosswalk and was hit by the car that was heading east on Flagler. The vehicle then fled the scene south on Keene, leaving a 16-year-old boy with serious injuries in the middle of the street. Thankfully, an FWC officer happened by and saw the victim in the street. The hit-and-run vehicle could have hood damage or damage to the left front quarter panel. Anyone with information on this case should call us at 727-562-4242.”

Dirling is praying the driver takes responsibility for his or her actions.

“Come forward. Come forward. At least acknowledge the damage that you’ve done to my son,” said Dirling. “Because he’s never going to be able to be that normal kid that he was before.”

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