In the less than two months since the new year began, South Florida has seen a number of fatal hit-and-run crashes, many still unsolved. Among those unsolved fatal crashes include that of six-year-old DeAndre Binns of Miramar; forty-nine-year-old John Quintal, a bicyclist struck and killed in Sunrise; and forty-seven-year-old Paula Vinsky, a special needs teacher who was struck while crossing a street in Loxahatchee. The family of Dwight Morrison, a sixty-three-year-old jeweler, was somewhat luckier in that the Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a man with DUI and leaving the scene of the accident, among other offenses, after Morrison was struck while riding his bicycle in Southwest Ranches Saturday. Morrison was killed instantly.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) says that hit-and-run crashes have increased in recent years. Last year, Broward County ranked second among Florida’s top five counties for hit-and-run crashes. There were 7,857 hit-and-run crashes in 2012 in Broward, an eight percent increase from 2011. Although Palm Beach County was not in the top five counties, it has unfortunately seen its fair share of hit-and-run crashes. In 2012, there were 3,381 hit-and-run accidents and in 2011 there were 3,372. FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez reported that, “Broward and Miami-Dade add up to nearly 20,000 hit-and-run crashes out of the state’s 69,994 crashes last year.”
Fatalities in hit-and-run crashes are also on the rise. In 2011, 162 individuals died as a result of hit-and-run crashes and in 2012 that number was up to 168. Three out of five of these victims were pedestrians. The mother of Renada Evans, a woman who was killed nine years ago in a hit-and-run crash, continues to feel the pain of losing her daughter. Interestingly, the FHP knows the name of the driver that caused Evans’ death in that case, but they have been unable to locate him. Another man who lost his son in a hit-and-run crash was “baffled” when he found out the driver that hit his son just “left him in a ditch.”
Hit-and-run crashes, fatalities on rise, state warns, www.sun-sentinel.com February 19, 2013
FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky stated that drivers may flee a crash because “they are impaired, or their license is suspended or they don’t have insurance or are here illegally.” He encourages drivers who witness a hit-and-run crash to take a picture or record a video if it is safe to do so. Any details that a witness can remember about the driver and vehicle that caused the accident are extremely important and helpful. Florida law requires drivers involved in an automobile accident to stay at the scene and it imposes strict penalties for drivers that flee the location of the crash. If a driver flees a fatal crash, he or she faces up to thirty years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Bicyclists and pedestrians often fall victim to fatal hit-and-run crashes. These individuals face a particularly high risk of danger compared to automobile drivers. However, many victims of the thousands of hit-and-run crashes each year also include individuals inside a motor vehicle. The problem of hit-and-run crashes is extremely serious and particularly troublesome for the South Florida community. Without the identity of the individual who caused the crash, victims and their families often are left with nowhere to turn. The Broward automobile accident attorneys at the Friedland Law Group have over two decades of experience fighting for victims of automobile crashes. The insurance litigation attorneys are experienced in getting compensation for injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering for victims and their families. If you have lost someone you loved as a result of a motor vehicle accident, call a Coral Gables wrongful death attorney today at (305) 661-2008 for your free consultation!
The Miami personal injury attorneys at the Friedland Law Group handle all types of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland Law Group handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries. Call today and let us help you!