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Man charged in Durham hit-and-run that killed bicyclist

Posted July 9, 2013
Updated July 10, 2013

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— Durham police charged a Warren County man Tuesday in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist on Hillandale Road near Interstate 85 Monday night.

Maceo Christopher Kemp Jr., 27, of Manson, turned himself in Tuesday afternoon, police said. He was charged with felony hit-and-run and driving while license revoked. Kemp Jr. will make his first court appearance Wednesday morning.

Seth Vidal, 36, was biking north in the 1700 block of Hillandale Road around 9 p.m. Monday when he was hit from behind, police said. He was pronounced dead at Duke University Hospital.

Vidal worked for software company Red Hat in Raleigh and his online resumé lists him as the lead developer of a computer program called "Yum," an automated system updater used around the world.

Neighbors and friends said they thought the world of Vidal and that cycling was one of his passions.

Twitter photo of Seth Vidal Durham man killed in hit-and-run was cycling enthusiast

"That is heartbreaking if it were anybody, but to have it be Seth, I am just stricken right now," said Sherri Vann Rosenthal. "Many of us have lost a really important friend."

Rosenthal said she rode her bike alongside Vidal many times and that bicycle safety was very important to him.

Two days before the crash, Vidal wrote on his Twitter page about cycling: "It isn't a contest. Just enjoy the ride."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • brianrfacebookcom Jul 15, 2013

    stymieindurham and westernwake1: the stretch of road where this crash occured is posted 35 M.P.H.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 12, 2013

    @goner, you mentioned laws that cyclists break & how highways are off limits and you’re right, but this is a strawman distraction. If you ask why cyclists break laws, you need to really ask why nearly every car driver breaks laws every time they drive. Speed limit ring a bell? Turn signals? Tailgating?

    That said, you’re dead wrong about cyclists and lane use. Did you even read the statue you posted? NCGS § 20-146 doesn’t even contain the word, bike, cycle, bicyle, etc.

    Cyclists have as much right to the full lane (where it is legal for us to ride) as automobiles. ALL vehicles are supposed to keep to the right of the road and the lane. So, if you’re one of those “righteous” car drivers who likes to “buzz” us cyclists, be prepared if we ever catch up with you... we’ll throw the (law) book at you.


  • feiermanmusic Jul 12, 2013

    To those commenting on the accused man's smile, the jail sometimes uses mugshots taken during an earlier arrest. This may not be a picture of him at the time that he turned himself in for the hit-and-run.

    And drivers need to realize that bikes are entitled to use the road as well. The fact that you have the right to go 35 doesn't mean that you have the right to go 35 if the vehicle in front of you is going 25. There is nothing about driving a car that gives you the right of way over other vehicles.

    It's annoying, but you have no right not to be annoyed by slower vehicles in the roadways. Cars around here never wait for pedestrians before they make right turns either, as required by law. Your car is not a castle or a weapon, it's just a vehicle on the road along with everyone else who has the right to use the road. So drivers, get a grip on your anger, use your patience and don't kill anyone.

  • jackflash123 Jul 11, 2013

    "Please don't generalize about motorists and their 'ignorance.'"

    Considering the hateful comments about cyclists here w/in the context of a cyclist's DEATH, I think motorists can handle some generalizations pretty safely. There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Vidal -- an avid cyclist and a presumably conscientious one -- did anything wrong, so bringing up all the examples of cyclists who do break rules muddies the waters, distracts from the appropriate lesson here, and contributes to an ongoing environment of impatience toward even law-abiding cyclists. That's dangerous.

  • jackflash123 Jul 11, 2013

    "Who really cares if he is the nephew of Floyd McKissick Jr.? That has no bearing on what happened. Just because you know someone and have not seen them in a decade gives you no more credit of his character than he himself. Physical abnormality or not he committed a crime and someone died because of it."

    Well, that part where I said, 'for the haters'? I posted that info b/c I figured the haters will care when they find out, so I figured I'd address it preemptively.

    I don't see where I stated anything about his character at all.

    I mentioned what I know of some physical abnormality (ie, nothing official) as a possible explanation for why he appears to be smiling.

    Anything else you're having trouble understanding that I can explain to you?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Jul 10, 2013

    @raleighboy524, so do you feel that bicycle drivers (where allowed) have full rights to the road as car drivers do?

    As you mentioned, we shouldn't generalize about you as a car driver. ;-)

    And, should all cars be restricted to the maximum safe speed limit...at all times...maybe with an automatic GPS throttling device? Why wouldn't you? I mean, you want everyone to obey all laws at all times, right?

  • seriouslyrevoked Jul 10, 2013

    Wow if that photo is the one taken when he surrendered it sure lacks any remorse to me, even looks like he thinks it is funny. I hope it isn't the way it looks. People make mistakes and this was a sad one for sure. Last night where I live in Durham it was pitch black. Why bicyclist risk there lives riding these incredibly busy streets has always befuddled me. Every year I read a story like this. Really to bad.

  • raleighboy524 Jul 10, 2013


    Please don't generalize about motorists and their "ignorance." You don't seem to like their generalizations about bicyclists. Good for you for wearing a helmet, obeying the laws and using a light. But it's quite fair to say a lot of your fellow bicyclists do not follow your outstanding example. As evidenced by the fact that so many seem to run stoplights and stop signs nad pass on the right, perhaps they are really in a bigger hurry than drivers. Sharing the road is like sharing the dance floor. Timing and coordination are key. When one partner or couple goes rogue, people start bumping into each other. When bicyclists fail to obey the rules of the road, they put themselves and drivers in jeopardy. I don't think people who disagree with you are "blaming" cyclists so much as voicing genuine concern (ok, outrage, too) about what they see bicyclists doing on the roads.

  • surferdude81 Jul 10, 2013

    I think its safe to assume the suspect had more than likely been drinking and that is why he hit a cyclist and that is why he took off. I'm not saying its right but it was not dumb either, as someone pointed out ( 2 years or 20 years.) I am a durham cyclist, I ride everywhere including to and from work and that includes riding at night. There is so much ignorance when it comes to how drivers perceive cyclists. Almost everyday someone will brush within a foot or two of my leg as if to say "get off my road" when there is plenty of room to pass. I am often yelled at, cursed etc. I also obey traffic laws, wear a helmet and use lights. Our community needs to wake up as evidenced by the comments on this board. I even read "get on the sidewalk". Lets stop blaming cyclists, we are trying to save our environment and get some exercise while the majority of our community is busy blaming cyclists who are keeping them from getting to the fast food restaurant 2 sec. quicker

  • diana123 Jul 10, 2013

    so guilt got to him, might as well surrender as he would
    have blabbed about what he did anyway, probably did.