LI teen run down in bike lane

July 21, 2009 2:26:39 PM PDT
A teenage college student home for the summer was struck and killed by an allegedly drunk motorcyclist while out for a bike ride Monday night. And authorities say the teen was in an area that was supposed to be safe for him.The 47-year-old suspect is in critical condition in the intensive care unit. He faces a slew of charges in the death of 19-year-old Matthew Scarpati.

"He just loved life," brother Chris Scarpati said. "It really is a shame."

Chris says he didn't even know his brother went out on a ride Monday night until police showed up at the house to say he had died at the hands of a drunk driver while on a bike path.

"He liked to bike," Chris said. "He was big about it, and it is just really unfortunate."

Matthew's bike was in need of a tire change when he was hit and killed by a motorcyclist. Cops say it happened near the Goose Creek Bridge in Wantagh, when a Harley-Davidson ridden by James Ryan went out of control. Police say Ryan was drunk and speeding.

Other bicyclists in the vicinity say it's a tough reminder that nowhere is safe.

"It's absolutely horrible," cyclist Al Conforti said. "There are less and less places you can ride your bike safely."

While the family tries to cope with their grief, Chris Scarpati says his heart breaks for his parents, who also lost their youngest son eight years ago to a medical issue. Now, they're second youngest, Matthew, is dead.

The an economics major at the University at Buffalo was home for the summer.

"I've lost a brother," Chris said. "Smart kid. And there's nothing you can do to bring him back."

Ryan is charged DWI, vehicular manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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