JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed that the driver identified in the Friday crash that killed 57-year-old Esther Ohayon was also involved in a fatal crash in 2009 that killed a 6-year-old girl.
Sgt. Dylan Bryan with FHP says charges are pending against Michael Fortunato, who hit Ohayon and her daughter as they were crossing San Jose Blvd. on Friday night on their way to Yom Kippur services at the Etz Chaim Synagogue. According to the FHP report, Fortunato tried to avoid Ohayon and her daughter, but was unsuccessful.
Sgt. Bryan confirms Fortunato lives in the 9600 block of Bayou Bluff Dr. off San Jose and Sunbeam Rd. Our partners at Action News say it's the same home they visited in 2009 to talk to the driver involved in the crash that killed 6-year-old Kaitlyn Springer. Property records we located show a Michael Fortunato has owned the home since 1996. Action News knocked on the door of the home for comment over the weekend but no one answered.
Local attorney Eric Block, who represented Springer's family back in 2009, tells Action News more needs to be done to give pedestrians time in crosswalks.
"We've been screaming for three years innocent people are going to die in Jacksonville, in crosswalks, and guess what? We ain't done yet. More people are going to die," said Block.
Members of the Jewish faith do not typically work, use electronics, or drive cars during Yom Kippur. Members of the synagogue say it's likely Ohayon had not used the crosswalk button as she and her daughter crossed the street.
Fortunato was never charged in the 2009 accident.