Destin Man Faces Criminal Charges for Hit and Run Bicycle Accident on Mid-Bay Bridge (Florida)

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Douglas Wayne Rutledge, a 30-year-old man of Destin, Florida, has been formally charged after he allegedly hit a bicyclist on the Mid-Bay Bridge. Rutledge has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident with injuries and failing to drive in a single lane. According to a Florida Highway Patrol media release, Rutledge apparently dropped a lit cigarette while driving and as he bent down to pick the cigarette up he drifted into the paved shoulder of the bridge causing the passenger-side window of his vehicle to strike a 71-year-old cyclist, Berthold W. Schliesing. The collision caused Schliesing to be thrown from his bicycle.
According to witnesses, after the accident occurred, Rutledge stopped and exited his truck and spoke to another driver in a silver vehicle. After a brief conversation with the driver Rutledge took off. Witnesses also gave a detailed description that led authorities to Rutledge’s truck. The FHP matched the damages on his truck with the accident and are continuing to investigate. Rutledge, the registered owner of the truck, was contacted by troopers and told them he left the scene because he did not know he had hit anything.
Schliesing was found on the side of the bridge is “pretty bad condition.” He sustained personal injuries in what appeared to be a head injury and a laceration to his stomach. According to news reports, Schliesing was listed in serious condition at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. Rutledge will be entitled to an attorney to defend the charges against against him. If you would like to read more on this story please see Hit-and-run accident in Destin, Florida leaves bicyclist in serious condition.
Drivers need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Distracted driving in the U.S. is becoming an increasing problem on Florida roadways. Distracted driving comes in all forms from driving while eating, putting on makeup, texting on your cell phone, etc. All of these activities take the driver’s focus off the road. While driving, steer clear of distracted driving behavior in order to make Florida roadways safer for all, especially children and bicyclists.

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