St. Johns County

Boy riding a bike dies after being hit by truck in St. Johns County

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — A 14-year-old Hastings boy died Sunday after he was struck by a pickup truck in St. Johns County.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the collision happened just before 7 p.m. Sunday on County Road 13 near Cowpen Branch Road.

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The boy was riding his bike eastbound on County Road 13 when he was hit from behind by a pickup truck that was traveling in the same direction, killing him. His bicycle was still attached to the truck after impact.

He was not wearing a helmet, troopers said.

The 46-year-old Putnam County man who was driving the pickup truck was not hurt.

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The family has identified the victim as 14-year-old Xaiver Santana.

“I need somebody to explain something to me because he’s a human being,” Xaiver’s father Efrain Santana said. “I just need some answers. And nobody is giving me an answer.”

Xaiver’s father believes the driver was going over the speed limit; the speed of the driver has yet to be determined in the case.

Wesley Smith has lived off the same road for dozens of years. He said he doesn’t see many bicyclists on the road, and there’s a reason for that.

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“There’s not room for bikes on this road anyway,” Smith said.

There are no street lights on this stretch of County Road 13 South and the speed limit is 55 mph.

FHP reported the crash happened around 6:45 p.m. well after sunset.

“This was after dark. The two of them were riding bicycles. (I) couldn’t believe there would be kids out on the road that time of night,” Smith said.

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Smith said he spoke with the victim’s friend after the crash.

“His friend was off in the grass. (I) talked to him. He was devastated,” Smith said.

He said he also had a word with the driver, who he said was devastated as well.

“We went down, had prayer with him and got him settled down,” Smith said.

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Smith wasn’t alone out there.

“Everybody was very organized. Some people are trying to stop traffic. Somebody was trying to help (the) guys,” Denis Romanov said.

Romanov said he drove up soon after the crash and tried to help the victim, but there was nothing he could do.

FHP confirmed there were no lights on the bike.

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Officials also said the victim was in the road near the shoulder, but not in the middle of the lane.

FHP has no records of any other bike crashes on County Road 13 South in this area in 2021.

“Charges will be issued (if warranted) at the conclusion of the investigation,” a FHP spokesperson said.