Truck hits, kills man with bicycle in Orange Park

FHP: Driver making right turn onto Blanding Blvd. hit pedestrian in crosswalk

By Marques White - Reporter, Stacey Readout - Assistant News Director, Scott Johnson - Reporter

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A pickup truck hit and killed a 24-year-old man walking a bicycle on Blanding Boulevard at Belmont Boulevard on Friday morning.

Armando Acosta was taken to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the pickup driven by 42-year-old Shad Devries was facing west on Belmont at Blanding at 6 a.m. Acosta was attempting to cross Belmont within the designated crosswalk, walking from north to south pushing his bicycle, troopers said.

They said Devries attempted to make a right turn onto Blanding, and the right front of the truck hit Acosta.

"It shouldn't have happened. He was a great kid. He was just minding his own business crossing the street," said family friend Marlon Martinez. "It just happened, so you've got to give us some time to soak it in. It's very rough."

FHP said Acosta had the right-of-way, so Devries could face charges. Troopers said blood alcohol content results are pending.

"A lot of drivers will pull up, they'll look to their left to make sure there is not traffic coming, and then they'll proceed to make a right turn or to cross the roadway and they're not looking back to see if there's a pedestrian or any bicycle traffic coming towards them," FHP Sgt. Dennis Smith said. "Anyone attempting to cross a road, if there are vehicles present, they should make eye contact with that driver."

Two northbound lanes of Blanding were blocked for two hours while FHP investigated. All lanes reopened to traffic shortly after 8 a.m.

"It was a little upsetting because I had my kids with me and everything," Orange Park resident Angel Woods said.

Many residents in the area said they're concerned about pedestrian safety.

"I wouldn't consider it safe," Thomas Ward said. "It's a little risky to be trying to cross the streets, even at the crosswalk."

"Traffic on Blanding is really fast anyways," Woods said. "I don't know what they can do, but they definitely should do something."

Jacksonville was ranked the third-worst city for pedestrian accidents, according to advocacy group Smart Growth America. The group reported 18 fatal accidents on Blanding Boulevard from Clay to Duval counties from 2003 to 2012.

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