WINCHESTER — Fatal crash victim Mark Wilson Smith dreamed of earning a commercial driver’s license so he could become a long-haul trucker.
“He was always talking about goals he wanted to accomplish,” Matthew Smith, his twin brother, said on Sunday. “He wanted to see the country.”
Smith’s dream was cut short when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver about 1:40 a.m. on Saturday in Frederick County as Smith pedaled his bicycle east on Berryville Pike (Va. 7) near Bingo Motors, about a tenth of a mile west of Regency Lakes Drive. The driver remained at large on Sunday night.
Sgt. Brent Coffey, a state police spokesman, said Smith was hit by the an eastbound 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer. The driver swerved left, then over-corrected and swerved right, hitting a guardrail and striking Smith from behind. The driver then drove off the left side of the roadway and hit a ditch, causing the Mitsubishi to overturn.
The driver then ran away, according to Coffey, who didn’t have a description of the person. He said alcohol and speed were factors in the crash, but he didn’t provide details. The speed limit where the crash occurred is 45 mph.
Smith, who wasn’t wearing a helmet — Virginia law doesn’t require bicyclists to wear helmets — was riding on the shoulder of the road when he was struck. He died at the scene.
The 49-year-old Frederick County resident and father of one was less than a mile from his home in the 100 block of Cluseret Court when he was killed.
Nathaniel Smith, the victim’s 23-year-old son, said he last saw his father when he left their home between 4 and 5 p.m. on Friday. The elder Smith, an unemployed box truck delivery driver, said he was headed downtown. He had been riding the bike since the repossession of his car.
Smith grew up in the county and graduated from James Wood High School. His brother and son described him as kindhearted and a good listener, the kind of person who went out of his way to make others feel comfortable. Smith was also a heavy metal music fan who attended Metallica concerts and liked four-wheel drive trucks and fast cars.
Nathaniel Smith fondly recalled spending time as a child at Lake Holiday beach with his father and mother. The family would eat cheeseburgers and potato wedges and drink soda there. “He liked making people feel good and spreading happiness,” he said.