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Mother Killed, Baby Injured, Crossing Street in Port Charlotte

It was supposed to be one of the most mundane tasks of her day: Crossing the street. road3

Instead, it ended her life and nearly claimed the life of her 5-month-old baby.

Authorities say the 35-year-old mother-of-two was killed in Port Charlotte while on vacation from Pittsburgh with her husband and two sons when she decided to go for a walk. It was about 7 a.m. She decided to take her youngest with her for the stroll. 

She pushed her infant son in the stroller along a street with no sidewalks. She started to cross the road. The 55-year-old driver of the sport utility vehicle that approached would later say he didn’t see her until it was too late.

The pedestrian accident happened on Appleton Boulevard near Bay State Drive in Charlotte County. Investigators say the woman was killed instantly upon impact. The boy was flown by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he was in serious but stable condition with several broken bones.

Witnesses who heard the crash and rushed to the site moments later were horrified. They later expressed anger that the accident may have been prevented had the city worked faster to install sidewalks in the neighborhood. This was a main road and pedestrians had no way of safely traversing it.

Sidewalk construction is currently underway in parts of that South Gulf Cove neighborhood, but it hadn’t happened yet on Appleton Boulevard where this crash occurred. Residents now intend to bring up the issue before county commissioners, demanding the project pace be sped up.

In 2014, Smart Growth America released a report called, “Dangerous by Design,” in which Florida’s pedestrian accident problem was laid bare. This state has more pedestrian deaths than any other state, and there are a number of factors at play.

First, construction of roads in South Florida occurred mostly during the post-WWII era. That meant the focus was primarily on motor vehicle traffic through low-density neighborhoods. That meant wider streets, higher speed limits, fewer sidewalks, very few crosswalks and other elements that show disregard for those traveling the road on foot (or by any other means than in a motor vehicle).

Among the most dangerous regions in the nation for pedestrians:

  • Orlando
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg
  • Jacksonville
  • Miami

The pedestrian injury rate in these areas is nearly four times what it is nationally.

In response to the first, “Dangerous by Design,” report in 2011, the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) repsonded with a Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Safety Plan (in February 2013) that would address the issue of pedestrian danger. This resulted in more than two dozen Florida communities (including Lee County) adopting Complete Streets initiatives. Charlotte County is thus far not among those communities.

Persons who are disproportionately affected by pedestrian accidents in Florida include:

  • Children
  • Elderly
  • People of color

In this case, decedent was an attorney at a Pittsburg firm that focuses on business and international law. Her focus was on labor and employment law.

A GoFundMe page has been established in her name to help her husband and young sons.

Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.

Additional Resources:

Mom pushing stroller dies after being hit by SUV in Port Charlotte, April 22, 2016, NBC-2