Joyce and Reyes Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Death of High School Pedestrian
Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 8, 2013 - A 17-year-old boy was struck and killed by a minivan as he walked to school in Polk County, Fla.
Enrique Hernandez, of Auburndale, Fla., was walking northbound on Old Dixie Highway toward Teneroc High School shortly before dawn on a recent Wednesday morning when the accident happened. He was struck by a Dodge minivan traveling in the same direction. Investigators think Hernandez was wearing headphones at the time.
“There are no street lights, sidewalks, or even shoulders at this stretch of road,” said Tampa personal injury lawyer Robert Joyce. “Combined with the fact that the accident occurred before dawn, that adds up to a very unsafe situation for a pedestrian. The fact that the boy may have been wearing headphones at the time has received some attention. It's impossible to say whether the accident might have been avoided if he hadn't had the headphones on. However, parents should talk with their children and instruct them not to wear headphones when walking along roads. It's a small safety precaution that could make a world of difference.”
The minivan driver, Prakesh Patel, 50, tried to avoid hitting Hernandez, but was unsuccessful, police said. He immediately stopped and tried to help, but the boy was declared dead at the scene. Authorities said Patel was not suspected of impairment or improper speed. Witness Jeremy Johnson told Fox 13 that the force of the impact was such that it sounded as if the minivan had hit a pole. Johnson ran to the scene and saw Hernandez lying in a ditch.
This is not the only recent pedestrian death near Teneroc High School. In 2009, 14-year-old Colton Meyers died after being struck on Old Dixie Highway. Investigators of that accident said that another student on his way to Teneroc hit Meyers while trying to pass another vehicle.
Dr. Patrick Mularoni, a pediatrician at All Children's Hospital, told Fox 13 that young people are often taken to the emergency room with injuries suffered while they are distracted. He recommends against wearing headphones while walking.
“In Florida, it is against the law to operate a bicycle or motor vehicle while wearing headphones,” Joyce added. “For now, there are no restrictions on wearing headphones while walking along roads, but lawmakers in some states have considered banning the practice.”
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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