TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)- Florida Highway Patrol troopers are working to determine what caused a motorcycle rider to lose control and crash on Interstate-275 late Wednesday evening.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the biker, 38-year-old Joel Shubert of Tampa, was traveling south on I-275 near the 44 milepost when he lost control, crashed into a barrier wall along the southbound lanes and was tossed into the northbound lanes.
Shubert had been a cook at Cody’s Original Roadhouse in Belleair Bluffs, for about six months. Cody’s Original Roadhouse General Manager, Jason Oaks, and his staff learned about their coworker’s tragic death early Thursday morning.
They saw the news on social media. “It’s going to be hard,” Oaks said. “A lot of hugs. A lot of tears, you know but you now we’re a family at work and he was a part of our family. It’s just like losing a family member.”
Oaks said he was a hard worker. “He had three kids, he worked two jobs to support his kids,” he said. “Always had a smile on his face, always gave everybody else a smile. It’s a terrible loss.”
Troopers said Shubert lost control approaching downtown Tampa.
“What we can say solidly is that the vehicle departed the roadway, struck the barrier wall. The rider came off and went over the barrier wall and into the northbound lanes,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.
At that time a Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was headed home from work in a marked patrol car, traveling in the northbound lane of I-275. The deputy, 26-year-old Jane Hanna, struck the motorcyclist laying in the roadway.
“His body went over the wall and by happen chance, the next car coming down the road was an off duty Pinellas deputy,” said Sgt. Gaskins
Oaks said Shubert loved riding his bike. Tragically, he died doing what he loved.
“Right now everybody is just trying to stay together and stay strong and be strong for one another and go from there,” said Oaks.
Troopers said Shubert did not have a motorcycle endorsement on his license, which was currently not valid.
Representatives with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Deputy Hanna is shaken up and may take time off to cope with the tragedy.
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