MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Police are warning pedestrians walking along SW 8th Street about the dangers of jaywalking after a Friday morning accident.
Nuchin Chait, 90, was driving along SW 8th Street Friday when he hit three pedestrians who were walking.
“This could have been a deadly accident,” said Sgt. Freddie Cruz of Miami Police Department. “We’ve had a number of accidents, and even a fatality before, for jaywalking on sw 8th Street. We want to urge the public, please, don’t jaywalk. Those extra seconds you spend waiting for a light could save your life.”
“We’ve had numerous community meetings and traffic operations just to educate the public on the dangers of jaywalking,” said Cruz. “It’s become a particular concern along Southwest 8th Street.”
CBS4′s Peter D’Oench surveyed the area near the accident scene on SW 8th Street at 24th Court and in one 60-second span, he counted 10 jaywalkers in just a two block area.
Cruz said police had not yet officially determined that the pedestrians that were struck were at fault. But Chait, who was celebrating his 90th birthday Friday, was broken up about the accident.
And he told CBS4 that the pedestrians walked into the path of his Lexus just before 8 a.m. when he was driving eastbound on Calle Ocho. That Lexus now sits in the driveway of his home with a smashed front window that illustrates the impact in the accident.
“I feel bad about what happened,” Chait said. “They were coming from across the street, in the middle of the block and they came in three lines. The people just stepped in front of my car. I didn’t see them. This has never happened to me before. I want everybody to know they should not jaywalk.”
“This is the first accident that I have had in all my 90 years,” Chait said.
Police said Chait has no driving infractions on his record.
Three people were taken by fire/rescue to Jackson Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench the two women were still being treated for their injuries; they are Minelia Espinosa, 74, of Miami, and Estela Montoya, 68, of Miami. Espinosa’s husband was also injured in the accident.
Deadly accidents with elderly drivers have actually been on the decline in recent years. From 1997 to 2006, crash deaths among drivers 70 or older fell 21 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.