A fatal car accident occurred in Jacksonville FL on Friday. A car hit a mother and herdaugther. Esther Benzohar Ohayon, a 57-year-old woman, was killed and her daughter was injured when they attempted to cross the street in a crosswalk on San Jose Boulevard. “Esther Benzohar Ohayon died after being struck.” The daughter, sixteen-year-old Orly Ohayon, was hospitalized and in critical condition. “The Ohayons were on their way to Etz Chaim Synagogue for a Yom Kippur service when they were hit.”
The driver’s name is Michael A. Fortunato. He is 66-years-old and lives in Jacksonville. He did not have a valid Florida drivers license at the time of the accident. His drivers license expired last March. This car accident involving Fortunato has made headlines due to its similarity to a car accident that occurred “nearly four years and a half-mile away.” Fortunato “is the same person who hit and killed a 6-year-old in 2009, authorities confirmed Monday…. Highway Patrol spokesman Dylan Bryan said the name, date of birth and address match both cases. The Highway Patrol investigated Friday’s case and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office handled the 2009 death of 6-year-old Kaitlyn Springer. Kaitlyn was run over while crossing San Jose Boulevard with her mother on Dec. 19, 2009.” Kaitlyn, along with “her mother, Nora Odena Springer, and 5-year-old brother, James, were crossing the street after shopping at a Mandarin Kmart when they were hit. The police report said they began to cross the street when the light turned red for Fortunato and other drivers. They were still crossing when the light turned green and Fortunato started moving again.”
Fortunato was cooperative with the police after the accident last Friday. The Florida Times Union reported on Jacksonville.com:
“Bryan said Fortunato was cooperative following Friday’s accident and that initial reports that he attempted to flee were wrong. Fortunato offered to take a blood test and some was drawn, Bryan said. He said Fortunato has not been charged and that investigators are waiting for the blood sample to be analyzed and the investigation to be completed before making a decision.”
The Florida Times Union listed Fortunato’s driving record since 1996. “Fortunato has about 20 traffic citations since 1996, according to Duval County court records.” The majority of his tickets are basic Jacksonville traffic tickets and Florida speeding tickets. He also had a few tickets for driving on a suspended or revoked license in Florida.
The fact that Fortunato has had several tickets in the past does not make him negligent in this case. Police are still investigating the case. It appears that the media has tried to contact Fortunato, and he has not made a statement to the media. I am sure that Ohyan’s have hired or are looking for a Jacksonville lawyer to bring a personal injury claim. Fortunato will need his own Jacksonville attorney for any civil claims that arise out of this car accident. He will also need a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer if he is criminally charged. He should not speak to the media unless advised to do so by his attorney.