Halloween ended tragically for a Central Florida family when their eight year old son was struck by an SUV and killed while crossing Highway 50 to attend a Halloween party. This is a stark reminder of the need for drivers and pedestrians to be extra careful on Halloween.
According to WESH:
Officials said Mitchell Trompeter was crossing the street with his father’s girlfriend to attend First United Methodist Church’s annual Halloween event, called Trunk-or-Treat, when they were struck by a white Ford Explorer.
The woman suffered minor injuries.
"He was struck along with another family member," said John Johnson, of the Clermont Police Department. "He was pronounced dead at the scene and the other family member is being treated at Southlake emergency room."
Children are more than twice as likely to be killed by a car while walking on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to Safe Kids USA. More than 540 kids under age 14 are killed in pedestrian accidents each year. In an analysis of deaths from 2002 to 2006, the group found an average of 2.2 children are killed in pedestrian accidents from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween, compared with one child every other evening at the same time.
According to SafeKids, Halloween is consistently the most dangerous day of the year for kids to walk. Kids are at greater risk on Halloween simply because they’re more likely to be walking after dark, sometimes without their parents around. Additionally, Masks can make it hard for youngsters to see around corners, and dark costumes can make it hard for drivers to spot them.
Drivers should be more cautious on Halloween. They need to slow down, turn lights on and be prepared that there will be more kids out. Most importantly, they need to understand that children are generally unpredictable. Unlike adults, children are more likely to dart out between cars, especially when excited. That makes it more important than ever for drivers to avoid distractions, such as cellphones and texting, and of course, driving under the influence.
In Florida, drivers have a duty to keep a proper lookout for children around streets and highways. In fact, there is a specific standard jury instruction on the subject which states:
Duty of Motorist Toward Children
A motorist must exercise reasonable care to guard against the unpredictable and erratic behavior of children on or near the street or highway if he knows or should know of their presence.