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Man killed while cycling across Beach Boulevard

Bill Weeks described as 'very generous and giving soul'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man crossing Beach Boulevard on a bicycle early Thursday morning died after he was struck by a SUV, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office said William Leroy Weeks, 59, was struck by a Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle about 6:40 a.m. on Beach Boulevard at Carmichael Avenue, near the on-ramp to the Hart Expressway.

Weeks was taken to a hospital, but did not survive.

"He was a very generous and giving soul, a very compassionate person, a real loyal activist for the LGBTQ community," said close friend Mary Atwood. "(He was) just an amazing, amazing person."

Police said it appeared that eastbound traffic had been stopped at a red light at the intersection as Weeks rode in the crosswalk across Beach Boulevard. The driver of the Tahoe hit the brakes, but the SUV was struck from behind by a Honda Civic.

An elderly couple in the Civic suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospitalization.

The driver of the Tahoe stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. Police said the initial investigation did not show that drugs and alcohol were a factor. 

Weeks worked in training and development at River Region Human Services.

Atwood, who was one of Weeks' closest friends for more than 40 years, told News4Jax on Friday that, outside of work, he would spend his time sitting at a desk in her art studio.

"This is where he would come and work on creative things with us," Atwood said. "We actually worked on a book together and he did a lot of writing here."

News4Jax reporter Scott Johnson met Weeks in 2016 at a River City Pride Festival.

"LGBT people have children. They like to come out as a family," Weeks said during an interview with Johnson. "And this has always been a family-friendly event."

Weeks' co-workers said he biked to work all the time. 

North Florida Bicycle Club President Mark Atkins said that, sadly, he isn't surprised by the latest bicycle fatality. Historically, he said, Jacksonville is not bike-friendly.

"Jacksonville (has been) ranked at the bottom of the 50 largest cities for bicycle and pedestrian safety for years," Atkins told News4Jax by phone Friday. 

As of Friday, according to the Sheriff's Office, there have been 54 traffic fatalities in Duval County in 2018, and Weeks' death on Thursday was the third fatality this year to involve a bicycle.

About the Authors:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.