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NFL Player's Bentley Kills Pedestrian

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 1:35 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical
Tags: Pedestrians, National Safety Council, Right-of-Way, Automobile Accident, Crosswalks

An NFL player hits and kills a pedestrian with his Bentley. His guilt may hinge on state law concerning pedestrian right-of-way.

It was March 14, about 7:15 a.m.

Mario Reyes, 59, was rushing to his work as a construction crane operator. He crossed the six-lane MacArthur Causeway, near a crosswalk, when the pedestrian was hit and killed by a Bentley being driven by Cleveland Browns wide receiver, Donte Stallworth.


IMAGE SOURCE:  CBS News Web page/ image of Dante Stallworth


According to Miami Beach police, Stallworth said he flashed his light to warn Reyes. But police also note he was driving about ten miles over the posted 40 mph zone. 

Blood tests taken for alcohol are not yet back. No charges have been filed against Stallworth who stopped after hitting Reyes.

Three people called 9-1-1 that morning to report the incident. Police are releasing their calls. 

Reyes was hit in the far left lane, nearby was a crosswalk.     

The National Safety Council reports nearly 6,000 pedestrians are killed by cars every year, with about one-third under the age of 15.  84,000 suffer nonfatal injuries.

Florida Law

According to 2008 Florida Statutes, pedestrians must follow traffic signals at intersections and should not walk outside of designated areas that are for cars only.

“The driver of a vehicle at an intersection that has a traffic control signal in place shall stop before entering the crosswalk and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian, with a permitted signal, to cross a roadway when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk ...."

When there is no sign or signal, the driver of the vehicle is supposed to yield the right-of-way so the pedestrian can cross the roadway. 

But pedestrians are not supposed to “suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.”  Pedestrians outside of crosswalks are supposed to yield the right-of-way to vehicles.

In other states such as California, the pedestrian almost always has the right of way. 

According to the California Vehicle Code, “the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.”       

The Traffic Safety Center reports that even in California, 35 percent of drivers surveyed didn’t know pedestrians had the right-of-way at a crosswalk that is clearly marked.

Stallworth signed $35 million contract with the Browns last season, but was injured shortly after.   He was scheduled to receive a $4.75 million bonus the day before the accident. # 

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