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April 28, 2016

Charges filed in cyclist’s death

David T. Witherspoon, 49, of Brackenridge, has been charged with homicide by vehicle in the October 2015 death of Pitt staff member Susan Hicks, who was struck and killed while bicycling on Forbes Avenue near South Bellefield Avenue.

According to the police affidavit of probable cause, Hicks, the assistant director for academic affairs in the University Center for International Studies’ Center for Russian and East European Studies, was pinned between two cars by Witherspoon’s vehicle.

The police affidavit said Witherspoon was speeding and struck the other vehicle without braking or trying to steer away from the collision. Witnesses said Witherspoon fell out of his car after the accident.

Medics at the scene reported a strong marijuana smell on Witherspoon and in his vehicle.

He later was found to have synthetic marijuana in his system and a marijuana “blunt cigar” in his car.

Witherspoon currently is in the Allegheny County Jail awaiting a hearing on theft charges. He previously had received multi-year sentences for other charges, including drug possession with intent to sell.

In addition to homicide charges, Witherspoon faces other charges in connection with the October crash: involuntary manslaughter; drug possession; having an accident while driving with a suspended license; following too closely; and careless driving.

—Marty Levine 

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