NORTH PORT — A North Port man riding a motorcycle was killed and his passenger injured when they were hit by a drunk driver in a van speeding down U.S. 41, authorities reported Wednesday.

Zachary Richards, 33, North Port, was drunk as he drove the van, the Florida Highway Patrol alleged in their initial report.

Richards was charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI with serious bodily injury and DUI property damage.

The crash happened at 10:24 p.m. Tuesday on Tamiami Trail at Palm Harbor Drive, according to the FHP report. The crash scene is just outside the North Port city limits in the Warm Mineral Springs area.

The Ford Transit Van was southbound on Tamiami "at a high rate of speed with no headlights on," approaching Palm Harbor Drive in the inside lane.

Two people on a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle were headed north on Tamiami, in the inside turn lane approaching Palm Harbor Drive.

The motorcyclist tried to turn into Palm Harbor Drive, but the van slammed into the bike. The motorcycle passenger was thrown from the bike, the report states.

A third vehicle, a Lexus RX headed north on Tamiami Trial, then struck the motorcycle. A 77-year-old man from South Barrington, Indiana, was driving the Lexus with a 74-year-old woman also in the car.

The motorcycle driver, who was 67, was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger, a 62-year-old woman, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.

Troopers arrested Richards at the scene and transported him to the Sarasota County Jail where he was booked on the three charges. 

Emergency workers closed a portion of Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) for several hours, with traffic diverted to De Leon Drive and Ortiz Boulevard. The highway was reopened after 6 a.m. Wednesday. 


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