A medical researcher from the University of South Florida was struck from behind and killed by a SUV while she was riding her bicycle home after a long night in the lab. The bicycle accident may have been caused by a drunken driver.
The bicyclist was originally from Japan and came to the United States to study medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The woman was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Florida and studied molecular medicine. Her research was focused on the genetic basis of cancer. Her mentor, who she followed from the Medical College of Wisconsin to the University of South Florida, described her as a gifted student.
A Ford Explorer, that had been spotted earlier on the road speeding and swerving, struck the bicyclist from behind near the University of South Florida campus. The driver fled the scene of the accident. Investigators identified the driver and the vehicle by finding paint chips and plastic from the SUV’s headlight at the scene. They also received identifying information from a tipster. When investigators reached the suspect, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right.
Currently, there have not been any arrests or warrants issued for the person who committed the hit-and-run. The medical researcher’s mentor has grown frustrated with the investigation process. A Louisiana criminal defense lawyer remarked that investigators are probably trying to find additional witnesses to build information that will prove who was driving the SUV. The woman’s mentor felt that if no one was arrested for the medical researcher’s death, the tragedy of her death would be even greater.