The 21-year-old driver who struck and killed a bicyclist with her SUV had the smell of alcohol on her breath and took a blood alcohol test after the crash, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office crash report released Thursday.
The results of that test are pending for Shannon Brink, investigators said.
Brink, of Ponte Vedra Beach, was driving on Nocatee Parkway the morning of Oct. 7 when 30-year-old Jared Bynum was hit by her SUV. Bynum, of Jacksonville, (pictured, below) was riding east three feet into the right-hand lane near the intersection with Crosswater Parkway about 7:30 a.m. when he was struck by the SUV heading in the same direction. He was thrown about 100 feet and died at the scene.
Brink told investigators the sun was in her eyes and she didn’t see Bynum.
St. Johns County investigators say that stretch of Nocatee Parkway is a limited-access freeway where non-motorized vehicles are not allowed to ride. Yet bicycles are allowed on other areas of the parkway.
A week after family and friends laid Bynum to rest, their pain is still so apparent. They say it’s because Bynum brightened so many lives.
“Regardless if he knew you for 100 years or he knew you for two minutes, when he spoke to you or when you spoke to him, you honestly felt like you were the only person in the room, that you had his undivided attention,” said Paul McRae, Bynum’s friend and running coach.
At his funeral, everyone turned their attention to his kind heart and many talents, hidden from most because he was too modest to boast, they say.
He was an engineer at Haskell, an incredible athlete, a musician and a mentor to a student at Landon Middle School, who, even after a year of mentoring, Bynum didn’t think liked him until the following year.
“This kid walked into the room and his face kind of lit up, and he said to Jared, ‘You came back,’ and that relationship between him and this kid ultimately changed from that point,” McRae said. “He was a lot more happy, a lot more maniable to him, a lot more talkative, and that’s who Jared was, he kept coming back.”
McRae also learned Thursday that deputies had smelled alcohol on the driver’s breath.
“I know this 21-year-old girl’s life has changed forever, too, and I’d never wish this on anyone, but hopefully Jared’s family and his wife, Kelli, will get some sort of relief in finding out exactly what happened that day,” McRae said.
For now, it’s about getting through each day without their friend, mentor and beloved husband by their side.
“I’m just a friend of his,” McRae said. “I can’t imagine imagine what it would be like without him every day coming home.”