A Fort Lauderdale firefighter was killed after he stopped on the side of the road to change a flat and was struck by an oncoming vehicle on Interstate 95. The case is a reminder to drivers not to text and drive and to avoid other distractions while driving to prevent similar accidents. Drivers who must pull over to change a flat, handle maintenance, or in the event of an emergency should also remember the danger of pulling onto the shoulder. According to media and accident reports, a 48-year-old driver struck the SUV in her Hyundai Sonata in the southbound lane just north of Yamoto Road in Boca Raton.
A 911 call detailing the scene of the accident was made available to the media. In the recording, it is clear that the driver was overwhelmed with grief and shock as she begged the dispatcher for help. Immediately, the driver recognized that she veered off the road and “hit a man.” When the emergency rescue team arrived, the driver was standing over the victim, who was still breathing but unresponsive. Throughout the six-minute 911 call, the driver begged the dispatchers for help while they tried to keep her calm.
Police stated that the driver tried to avoid hitting the victim by veering to the right, but drove into the victim who was next to his car. The driver went to aid the victim as she called 911 and though he tried to speak, she could not understand what he was saying. When other eyewitnesses pulled onto the scene, many called 911 to report the tragedy. All of these reports will be relevant in a criminal or civil matter. At least one eyewitness said the driver “panicked” and hit the victim. No charges have been filed, but the case remains under investigation.
According to a representative from the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue team, the victim was 48 years old and a 29-year-veteran. He was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center. After hearing news of their loss, members of the family, his firefighting squad, and the community joined for a procession from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office. He is survived by a wife, three children, and one grandchild.
Taking your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds can have deadly consequences. According to the 911 recording, the driver veered off the road after the car in front of her suddenly slowed down. She veered to avoid the car in front of her, and the victim’s vehicle, but didn’t see him standing next to it. Police reports indicated that he was thrown onto her windshield. As with any case involving a fatal accident, there is an ongoing investigation being conducted by authorities. The victims’ family should also consult with an experienced representative who can help protect their rights. Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys are experienced with wrongful death accident cases and can perform a thorough and effective investigation.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
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Broward Pedestrian Accidents a Serious, Ongoing Safety Threat, April 15, 2014, Broward Pedestrian Accident Attorney Blog