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F3 member hit by car while running in Lexington dies

The hashtag #cheechstrong accompanies many of the Twitter tributes to John Flanagan, an F3 Lexington member who died after being hit by a car while running on Sunset Boulevard Wednesday morning.
The hashtag #cheechstrong accompanies many of the Twitter tributes to John Flanagan, an F3 Lexington member who died after being hit by a car while running on Sunset Boulevard Wednesday morning.

The man hit by a car while running in Lexington on Wednesday morning has died.

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said Thursday that John Flanagan, 38, of Lexington, died from traumatic injuries suffered after he was hit by a car on Sunset Boulevard just before 6 a.m. Wednesday.

Flanagan was taken to Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, where he later died, Fisher said.

Police have released few details about the fatal collision but said Flanagan was in the roadway when he was struck. No charges have been filed.

Members of F3 Lexington, of which Flanagan also was a member, said in a Twitter post Wednesday afternoon that Flanagan was wearing a headlamp, a reflective safety vest and a blinking light for visibility.

The Lexington group is part of a larger F3 Nation, which consists of local groups around the country that participate in boot camp-style workouts. “F3” refers to the three pillars of the group – fitness, fellowship and faith.

Each F3 member has a nickname, and Flanagan’s was “Cheech.”

“No doubt!” fellow F3 member Barry Morgan tweeted Thursday. “No doubt he loved his kids, no doubt he loved his wife, no doubt he loved the Lord! Cheech left no doubt!”

At Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church on Sunset Boulevard, where Flanagan was a member, a prayer vigil was held Wednesday night.

Flanagan and his wife Rebekah were high school sweethearts and have two children, according to Meredith Cully, marketing director for the church who is also a friend and neighbor of Flanagan and has known him since 2004.

“He was the kind of dad that kept the grill going to keep everybody well fed, that drove swim team carpools, that was out in the yard playing with the kids,” said Cully, 39. “... I think of him being at the pool, playing with the kids, throwing people, throwing a ball with somebody – being a big kid himself.”

Cully, who is a Clemson fan, said she often exchanged playful banter with Flanagan, who was a Gamecocks fan. In the hours since his death, Cully said Thursday that she keeps thinking of a picture of Flanagan and her daughter after they ate some blue candy.

“They both had their tongues stuck out, smiling for the camera,” she said. “He had the joy for small things and making other people smile. That's all I could picture in my mind was the joy in his eyes.”

Hundreds of members showed up to work out in Flanagan’s honor Thursday morning, according to posts on Twitter. Many wore T-shirts with the sleeves cut off as a tribute to Flanagan.

F3 groups around the country tweeted pictures of their members wearing sleeveless shirts, along with messages of support for Flanagan’s family and fellow F3 brothers. Many included the hashtag #cheechstrong.

Check back for updates.

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