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Crime & Courts

Prison awaits Tampa man in 2011 bicyclist’s death

Tribune staff
Published:   |   Updated: February 4, 2014 at 11:45 AM

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TAMPA — A 21-year-old Tampa man is facing up to 15 years in prison after being convicted last week of vehicular homicide in the 2011 killing of a bicyclist on Fletcher Avenue.

Authorities said Lenoy Rivera was drag racing with Armando Perez Jr. on Feb. 13, 2011, when Rivera’s Ford Five Hundred reached a top speed of 92 mph in the 50-mph zone. Rivera lost control and struck 52-year-old veterinarian Robert Niedbalec, who was riding his bicycle.

Niedbalec, a naturalized citizen who came to the United States from Poland in 1987, died at the scene, near the University of South Florida’s Riverfront Park.

Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced March 7.

Perez faces a trial at a later date.

Initially, deputies said the Ford that struck Niedbalec was driven by Christina Perenzuela, 20, of Tampa, and that Rivera was the passenger. But witnesses identified Rivera as the person who exited the driver’s side window, deputies said.

Perenzuela and Rivera weren’t injured in the crash.

Niedbalec, of Temple Terrace, who had a 22-year-old daughter, worked for Banfield Pet Hospital in Citrus Park.

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