A DeBary man is dead after a pedestrian-auto collision near the University of Central Florida.

According to witnesses, 25-year-old Rian Whitmore ran onto eastbound University Boulevard and entered the pathway of 22-year-old Finnessa Randall, of Virginia, who was driving a 2015 Honda Civic. First responders immediately transported Mr. Whitmore to a local hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced dead.

Florida Highway Patrol officers are still investigating the incident, which occurred shortly after midnight.

Pedestrian Fatalities

Roughly one pedestrian every two hours is killed in an auto-pedestrian crash, and more than thirty times that many victims seek immediate treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Children under 14 and adults over 65 are the most at-risk age groups, either because motorists are not looking diligently enough to see them or because they lack the ability to elude onrushing vehicles. Some of the leading causes of these crashes include:

  • Speed: If the vehicle is travelling less than 30 mph, the pedestrian nearly always survives; if the vehicle is travelling faster than 40mph, the pedestrian nearly always dies.
  • Impairment: Alcohol is a factor in 49 percent of fatal pedestrian-auto crashes.
  • Distraction: As mentioned previously, many drivers are not looking for pedestrians, so any added driver distraction makes them even more vulnerable to injury.

If the victims suffered severe injury, damages in these cases include compensation for both economic losses, like medical bills, and noneconomic losses, like emotional distress. Punitive damages are also available, in some cases.

Legal Issues

If the pedestrian enters traffic against the light or does not use a crosswalk, as is often the case, the insurance company may try to invoke the sudden emergency defense. This theory excuses liability if the tortfeasor (negligent driver):

  • Is reacting to a “sudden emergency” in the legal sense of the phrase, and
  • Acts reasonably in the wake of the emergency.

In this case, it is not yet clear that sudden emergency may apply. However, that will ultimately be shown as fault is determined in the future.

Contact Zealous Attorneys

For prompt assistance with a negligent injury or wrongful death claim, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Reed & Reed. You have a limited amount of time to act. From our office in Brandon, Reed & Reed helps clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, East Hillsborough County and throughout the state of Florida.