1 victim dead in tandem bike hit-and-run; search continues - FOX 13 News

1 victim dead in tandem bike hit-and-run; search continues

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

Friends say there's a good reason Robert Lemon and Hillary Michalak hit the road on their tandem bike for a Labor Day ride before sunrise Monday morning.

"We try to ride early in the morning for two reasons -- to stay away from the motorists and for the cool weather," said Frank Lopez of Ride-n-Roll Bike Shop.

The couple, who are experienced cyclists, may have beaten the heat, but unfortunately, they didn't avoid a vehicle.

"Around 6:20 this morning we got a call from somebody who drove up on a par of handlebars," said Clearwater Police spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.

Not far from the handlebars laid a mangled bike, and, in the grass, Lemon and Michalak.

"It appears that it was a hit and run; both had life threatening injuries," said Castelli.

On Tuesday morning, authorities confirmed the worst: Lemon had died from his injuries.

It all happened at the foot of the Memorial Causeway, the road that connects Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

Friends of the couple were angered by the news.

"It's such a wrong thing to do, it's cowardice. You're a coward for doing that," said Lopez.

"I don't think a normal person would hit somebody and drive away," said neighbor Chris Privitera.

Police don't have much to go on. They say there were apparently no eyewitnesses and have not released a description of the vehicle.

Right now, they're asking the public to help.

"If someone has seen a car that just recently had damage to the right front, possibly the headlight area, that might be damage where they would have hit the bicycle," said Castelli.

Michalak, 27, is a director of youth and families at a Seminole church, while Lemon, 25, managed a bike shop. Friends say the two loved riding their bikes and were safety conscious.

Michalak remains in the hospital in critical condition.

Police are hoping someone out there can provide them a lead to bring whoever was behind the wheel to justice.

"There are two families that are hoping that someone comes forward with information," added Castelli.

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