In a report released earlier this year, Florida was declared one of the deadliest states in the nation for pedestrians. Of the 20 deadliest cities in the United States for pedestrians, nine are located in Florida. Orlando was ranked the least safe. Between 2008 and 2017, Florida saw 5,433 pedestrian fatalities in traffic accidents. This equates to a rate of 2.73 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 1.55. Florida’s Pedestrian Danger Index is higher than even New York City’s, with an index of 182.0 compared to New York’s 24.6.
The Citrus County Chronicle reports that new information has been released in a pedestrian accident where a sheriff fatally struck a pedestrian.
A preliminary report by the Florida Highway Patrol dated September 30th determined that Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast was not speeding in the fatal crash on Highway 19.
The report concluded that Prendergast was driving the posted speed limit of 60 m.p.h. as he drove north on U.S. 19 at 9 p.m. on August 21st.
Pedestrian Ronnie Health stepped into the roadway into the path of Prendergast. He hit the 59-year-old Heath with the right front side of his agency issued Chevy Tahoe. The impact threw Health onto the hood and into the right side of the vehicle’s windshield. Heath was then propelled forward onto the right shoulder of the roadway.
Heath was pronounced dead at the scene. Prendergast’s vehicle came to rest a few hundred feet from the site of the impact.
The report also revealed that alcohol is not thought to be a factor in Prendergast’s role in the crash. It also did not indicate that drugs or alcohol were a factor in Heath’s role.
The report did indicate that the section of roadway where the crash occurred is not well lit and Heath was wearing dark clothing.