John Furka of Fort Lauderdale, Florida crashed into a man in a motorized wheelchair who was allegedly illegally crossing a street on Tuesday, news sources report. Furka, 71, was not injured in the crash; the victim, 70, sustained critical injuries and was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Police are currently conducting an investigation and have not said whether charges will be filed. It is unclear whether the victims relatives will file for damages.
According to reports, the accident occurred at the intersection of Northeast 17th Way and Sunrise Boulevard. There is a red light at the intersection, as well pedestrian lights. Reports say the accident occurred around 6:30 Tuesday morning, as the victim was attempting to cross Sunrise Boulevard from the northbound side. “According to witnesses, the [victim] was crossing traffic not at a crosswalk against oncoming traffic,” a police spokesperson said.
Furka, who was westbound on Sunrise in his 2000 Ford Expedition, struck the victim. The force of the impact damaged the vehicle’s right side bumper and left a dent in the hood. Images of the scene after the collision showed that the victim’s motorized wheelchair had been completely torn apart.
The victim was unresponsive to medical teams and was taken to Broward Health Medical Center; he was pronounced dead shortly later. Furka remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators, reports say. Police are still investigating the incident.
A witness described the accident to reporters, saying the victim’s wheelchair was not equipped with lights of reflective materials. “For whatever reason, he almost got clipped on the other side,” the witness said. “I saw the whole thing. It was terrible, absolutely terrible. I’m going to have nightmares about this for God knows how long.”
Furka was not the only Fort Lauderdale man involved in a traffic accident this week. Mitchell H. King of Fort Lauderdale was arrested Monday after he allegedly drunkenly collided with several cars, reports say. King, 52, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on charges of DUI, damage to property or person, failure to produce valid insurance, and refusal to submit to a DUI test. He is being held on $3,100 bail bond. It is unclear whether he hired legal representation.
Sources say the incident occurred Monday afternoon. King allegedly drove drunk to a liquor shop, crashing into three cars on the way. King purchased a bottle of alcohol at the store, then continued driving, sources say. An officer spotted King near Andrews Avenue.
King reportedly attempted a right turn onto Southwest Sixth Street and crashed into another car, then accelerated and collided with the back of a van before hitting a parked Toyota. King then stopped, exited his vehicle and went into a supermarket, sources indicate. “Witnesses reported they saw the defendant enter Publix Supermarket, where he exited with a bottle of vodka,” a report says.
The officer confronted King, who allegedly could not stand and smelled of alcohol, reports say. “I took into my possession the unopened bottle of vodka,” the officer reportedly wrote in his report. Paramedics determined King was uninjured and he was booked into the county jail.