Satellite Beach Police Issues Statement in Regard to Fatal Crosswalk Incident in December

By  //  February 27, 2020

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incident happened on Dec. 22 when 12-year-old Sophia Nelson was hit by a northbound vehicle near Ellwood Avenue

The Satellite Beach Police Department issued a statement regarding the investigation into a pedestrian fatality that occurred in December. The incident happened on Dec. 22 when 12-year-old Sophia Nelson, above, was hit by a northbound vehicle near Ellwood Avenue. (Image for Space Coast Daily: beachfuneralhome.com)

BREVARD COUNTY • SATELLITE, FLORIDA – The Satellite Beach Police Department issued a statement regarding the investigation into the pedestrian fatality that occurred at the mid-block crosswalk on State A1A near Ellwood Avenue in December.

The incident happened on Dec. 22 when 12-year-old Sophia Nelson was hit by a northbound vehicle near Ellwood Avenue.

Sophia was crossing at State Road A1A and Ellwood Avenue at 5:37 p.m. on Dec. 22 when she was struck by a vehicle, according to a Satellite Beach police report.

She was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando where the Surfside Elementary sixth-grader’s  organs were later donated to help save the lives of four other children.

The Satellite Beach Police Department issued the following statement after the investigation:

A video of the events leading up to the crash was recorded on a nearby security system and turned over to the Satellite Beach Police Department investigative team in the days following the incident.

The video evidence assisted investigators with reconstructing the vehicle’s movements and the timeline as it approached the crosswalk.

The investigation concluded that the driver, Jo Anne Stanker, age 83, a resident of Cape Canaveral, was approximately 395 feet from the crosswalk stop bar when the yellow flashing warning lights were activated by the victim.

Evidence shows that the driver had sufficient time to react, slow and stop at or before the crosswalk’s stop bar.

Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson: “The investigation into this tragic case has concluded but we will continue to deeply mourn the loss of Sophia Nelson. We remain committed to aggressively enforcing traffic safety laws to educate drivers and pedestrians and make our roads as safe as they can be.”

Although the vehicle can clearly be seen braking and slowing almost immediately after the lights were activated, Jo Anne Stanker failed to stop at the crosswalk and stated she did not see the victim in the crosswalk.

The 12-year-old victim, Sophia Nelson, later died on December 25th, 2019. The driver was fully cooperative at the scene and consented to a blood test for any substances that may have impaired her driving. All results were negative.

As dictated in Florida statute, the driver was issued a citation for Failure to Stop at Crosswalk, a moving traffic violation, which requires a mandatory court appearance due to the crash resulting in a fatality.

No criminal charges were filed because there was no evidence whatsoever that the driver was driving in a dangerous or reckless manner. The driver will also be required to complete a driver’s license reexamination process.

Satellite Beach Police Chief Jeff Pearson: “The investigation into this tragic case has concluded but we will continue to deeply mourn the loss of Sophia Nelson. We remain committed to aggressively enforcing traffic safety laws to educate drivers and pedestrians and make our roads as safe as they can be.”

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