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Football player dies in accident

USF defensive back Patrick Payton died Friday morning from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident Thursday night in Miami.

Payton was en route to his grandmother’s house when he collided with a bicyclist and hit a parked car, according to the Miami Herald. Payton was admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition with severe head trauma and placed on life support.

Friday morning, Payton’s family decided to suspend life support.”Of course we’re all saddened by this. It’s just unbelievable to lose one of our young athletes like that,” said USF Associate Athletics Director Barbara Sparks-McGlinchy.

According to the Miami Herald report, Payton was traveling on his grandfather’s motorcycle northbound on Northwest 10th Avenue shortly after 6 p.m. Less than one block away from his destination, he collided with a bicyclist, Prince Levy, at the intersection of Northwest 10th Avenue and 51st Street. Payton’s motorcycle skidded 25 feet and hit a parked Ford Thunderbird, sending the helmet-less Payton 180 feet from the point of impact.

Levy, 69, suffered minor bruises and a dislocated shoulder and was released from Jackson Memorial Thursday night.

USF coach Jim Leavitt flew to Miami early Friday to be with Payton and his family. Leavitt said Payton, a redshirt freshman, was one of the most admired members of his team.

“Patrick was awfully different from other people,” Leavitt said. “He had a spirit about him. He had a way about him, a smile. He was caring, always listened.

“He was one of the most popular members of the team and everyone liked him.”

Payton, 19, won the 1998 Class 6A state championship while at Miami’s Northwestern High and arrived at USF in fall 2000. He redshirted the 2000 season but practiced with the team throughout the fall and spring. In the Bulls’ second spring scrimmage April 7, the 6-foot-1 Payton recovered a fumble from a bad snap and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown.

Payton is survived by parents Patrick Payton Sr. and Deborah McCoy. Cards for the family may be sent to the USF Athletic Department, c/o John Gerdes, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, PED 214, Tampa, FL, 33620.