A St. Johns deputy who was off-duty was involved in a fatal crash in Hastings on Sunday night, April 24. The officer was in his patrol car heading home when he struck and killed a pedestrian close to a car pulled over with mechanical failure. The 44-year-old man was on State Road 207, according to a report by Channel 4, after his SUV had brake trouble and he skidded to the median. Two other drivers came to his aid about 10:30 p.m. and they had connected the SUV to a white truck. That’s when the driver reportedly stepped off the median and into southbound traffic where he was hit by the 33-year-old deputy who works in the school resource unit. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reports charges are pending and the deputy has been placed on administrative leave.
Family members say the accident victim was a reliable man who always took precautions. Reportedly the cars towing the SUV had their flashers on and the victim stayed on the lane.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of this man for his sudden passing.
Florida’s Move Over Law
Under the Florida Move Over Law, a motorist must change lanes away from the flashing lights and an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Motorists are supposed to leave the lane next to the accident clear so emergency workers can do their job safely. Motorists should also slow down to 20 miles below the posted speed limit on a two-lane roadway so no one responding to the scene is struck by a vehicle. An FHP spokesman said the victim stepped into the roadway but without an investigation just how far he walked into the roadway is still unknown.
As law enforcement conducts its investigation, the family would be well-advised to contact a reputable Florida pedestrian accident lawyer to conduct an investigation into the facts that led to this death while witnesses are still around and evidence is available. Only then can the events tell us if this was a wrongful death that was entirely preventable.