Bicyclist dies in hospital after fall

A Colorado man died Feb. 8 after falling from his bicycle in Bradenton Beach.

Carl Wetzig, a Colorado Springs ophthalmologist with a home on Lido Key, was cycling Jan. 23 when he fell face down on Gulf Drive North between the Longboat Pass Bridge and Manatee County Marine Rescue headquarters.

He was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where he died after being treated for his injuries, according to police reports.

Emergency services were on the scene minutes after the call came in at 3:45 p.m.

Bradenton Beach Police Officer Tom Ferrara responded and interviewed a Bradenton couple, Sandra Schemske and John Ganis, who had been traveling north in a silver Toyota in slow moving traffic.

According to the BBPD report, Schemske, the driver, told the officer that Ganis, a front seat passenger, needed to use the bathroom urgently and opened the door, and Ganis said after he opened the door, he felt wind brush up his back, heard a loud crash and observed Wetzig lying face down.

“Upon thorough inspection of the entire accident scene,” Ferrara stated in the report, “… it appeared no contact occurred and hence no crash actually happened.”

Sarasota attorney Dan Dannheisser, representing the Wetzig family, said he is looking for witnesses to what he believes was a crash.

“Traffic was stopped. A fellow had to get out of his car. His stomach was upset I’m told, and he got out of the car without looking,” Dannheisser said.

BBPD Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz said he confirmed with the Florida Highway Patrol, there is no need for a crash report.

“According to witnesses, the guy was not in the bike lane — the guy who was in the car,” where the bicyclist was riding, Diaz said.

“Nobody knows why he fell off his bicycle,” he said.

The family, however, believes there may be other witnesses.

Dannheisser said, “We’re pretty far along reconstructing the accident,” adding that paint transfer on the left bicycle handle indicates contact with the door.

3 thoughts on “Bicyclist dies in hospital after fall

  1. Ryan Leestma

    Bradenton Beach Police do a terrible job with cyclists. I had a motorcycle cut in front of me to ride on a sidewalk, causing a t-bone that was so forceful it cracked my bike in half and sent me to the hospital!. Ferrara cited ME for going too fast! He later took his citation back and ticketed the motorcyclist but only after extreme pressure from my lawyer.

    You can cycle on Anna Maria but I would tell anyone that does do NOT pass cars fast as no one looks. Frankly I ride in the car lane when they’re going as fast as I am because it’s not worth the risk (and legally we can!)

  2. Avid Bicyclist

    No need for a crash report? The police and sheriff need to do their job and investigate this completely. Drivers and passengers in the area have little concern for bicyclists, never less pedestrians or others on the road. It is time for Manatee county to better protect bicyclists thru laws and better and more bicycling lanes.

  3. Cyclist

    If Ganis opened his car door into the path of the cyclist, the cyclist likely had to slam on his brakes resulting his fall (possibly head over handlebars). It seems to me that contact is not necessary for causual blame. The Dutch open their car doors with their far hand to avoid exactly ths type of accident. We should all make this a habit!

    I am an avid cyclist (AMI resident) and have stopped riding on the island. I had a near serious accident in Holmes Beach last year. I had to avoid a bike rider in my bike lane who was traveling in the wrong direction around a blind curve. Since I was riding fast, my only recourse was to ditch off the road into the trees. I was just lucky to get away with scrapes and minor bike damage. There was no contact but the other bike rider was clearly to blame. It is amazing there are not more serious bike accidents here.

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