Hit-and-run driver fatally strikes well-known cyclist

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GREAT NECK -

A man who's well-known in the cycling community was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver this weekend, according to police.

Police say 66-year-old David Schlichting was riding his bicycle down the Long Island Expressway service road, near Great Neck High School, when he was hit by a late-model minivan around 9 a.m. Sunday. The driver fled the scene.

Schlichting, who was wearing a helmet, fell and hit his head. He later died at a hospital.

Late Monday afternoon, investigators were back the Great Neck apartment building where Schlichting lived with his wife. Neighbors remember him as a happy guy who would always greet people with a smile.

Steve Vaccaro, who rode with Schlichting in the Five Boro Bike Tour, called him a "big sweetheart of a man." Schlichting served as a marshal captain of the 40-mile ride and was expected to take on that role again this year.

Bike New York, a nonprofit organization that teaches safe cycling, said in a statement: "Dave was a long time and much loved part of our extended Bike New York Family. We're outraged a driver could recklessly run him down and be so cowardly as to flee afterwards. We urge Nassau County Authorities to stay on the case and ensure the driver is caught."

Police released a surveillance photo of the minivan involved in the hit-and-run.

They ask anyone with information to call Nassau Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.

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