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Driver allegedly asleep at the wheel crashes into two marathon runners in Key West weekend race.

Two pedestrians running in a weekend race on U.S. 1 near mile marker 17  in Key West were hospitalized after being hit by a car whose driver had allegedly fallen asleep at the wheel.  

The driver, 23, was heading north when officials say she fell asleep at the wheel, eventually hitting two men identified by NBC 6 South Florida as a surgeon named “Matt D.,” and a University of Miami professor named “Gabriel.” The two men were hit around 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and were participating in the Keys 100, a 100-mile point-to-point race to benefit The Cancer Foundation of the Florida Keys Inc, which offers various services to cancer patients in the Keys who have to be shuttled to and from Miami for treatment. As the driver fell asleep, her car went out of her lane to the right, hitting the first runner and then the second before stopping on the road’s right shoulder. 

The wife of Matt D. said in an interview with NBC 6 that part of her husband’s right arm had to be amputated and he remains in the hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center for treatment. The wife of Gabriel, the other runner injured in the crash, said that doctors expect him to lose some function in his right arm. Both wives claim their husbands to be experienced runners with Gabriel’s wife adding that safety measures like cones and signs to tell drivers that there are runners in the area were missing. Keys 100 officials said in the article that the Seven Mile Bridge is coned, but not other parts of the course and “it [the entire course] never has been [completely coned off.]” 

A Law Firm with Experience 

In its decades of service to injured clients and their families, Leesfield & Partners has witnessed some of the most gruesome and devastating crashes from that of a Key West scooter-rider hit by an ambulance driver to a bicyclist on the Overseas Highway being struck by a truck. 

In the first case, lawyers with the firm were able to determine that the ambulance driver not only took a red light but was also speeding when he hit the Leesfield & Partners client. The ambulance struck the scooter-rider and catapulted him into a cement wall, causing severe injuries and disfigurement to his face. Though the ambulance driver claimed he was on his way to an emergency, it was discovered that neither his lights nor his siren were in use. 

In Florida, driving laws state that drivers must yield to emergency vehicles or pull over to let them pass when they display “audible … or visible signals” via a siren, whistle, or lights. However, in this case, because the ambulance driver did not turn on its siren or lights, the scooter-driver had no indication that the ambulance would not stop at the red light and thought it safe to cross the intersection. 

The case resulted in a $2.1 million verdict for the scooter-rider. 

In the case of the biker on the Overseas Highway, a two-lane stretch of road linking over 100 miles, a $5.35 million settlement was reached by Leesfield & Partners attorneys. The biker was stopped off the road on the shoulder of the highway when a truck driver hit her. It was determined that the driver was adjusting his vehicle’s GPS system and was distracted. The biker suffered multiple life-threatening injuries as a result. 

South Florida Crash Statistics

In Florida, there were approximately 164,203 crashes reported with injuries resulting in 251,963 injuries for 2023, according to Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. Monroe County accounted for 586 of those crashes for that year, resulting in about 925 injuries. Of the 1,398 total crashes in that area for the year, at least 34 involved pedestrians. 

In Miami, where Leesfield & Partners originated, a pedestrian was killed last week by a trolley as he attempted to retrieve his bicycle off the front rack. The constant news of another person injured or killed in Florida roads breeds the need for road safety. 

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