An Annapolis man in the final leg of a cross-country cycling trip intended to raise money to help the deaf was badly injured in a hit-and-run crash in Florida on Saturday.
Jacob Landis, 24, was struck by the mirror of a tractor-trailer as it passed him on a highway in Polk County in Central Florida and knocked unconscious, said Alyssa Sullivan, a spokeswoman for Landis' organization, Jacob's Ride. She said he has a concussion and multiple small fractures and cuts on his face, and his arm is in a sling.
Sullivan said those involved with the event are grateful Landis was not more seriously injured. A cousin of Landis' was following him in a van and witnessed the tractor-trailer driver leave the scene, Sullivan said.
"He's really lucky," she said.
Landis, whose hearing deteriorated as a child, was one of the first people to get a cochlear implant at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the late 1990s, Sullivan said. Such implants can allow some deaf people to hear enough to understand speech.
An avid baseball fan, Landis in April began riding his bicycle to 30 Major League Baseball stadiums around the country to raise money for those who needed cochlear implants but could not afford them. Landis had recently finished more than 10,000 miles and a trip to No. 29 on his list, Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He watched the Baltimore Orioles lose to the Tampa Bay Rays after a game of nearly seven-hours Friday.
On Saturday night at about 10 p.m., when he was struck, he was on his way to Miami for his final stop, where he was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Miami Marlins game Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies, Sullivan said.
Landis has raised about $200,000 through his cycling effort so far, and hopes to raise $1 million, Sullivan said.
Sullivan said Landis still plans to be in Miami for the Tuesday baseball game, though she said it remains unclear whether he will be able to throw the first pitch. He has been advised not to ride his bike for a couple of weeks, she said.
"He hopes when he gets better in the future he can finish that last 180 miles," she said.
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