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No Criminal Charges Filed Against Driver Who Killed Woman In Crosswalk


The motorist responsible for killing a 57-year-old woman and seriously injuring her 16-year-old daughter in a San Jose Boulevard crosswalk in September will not face criminal charges.Esther and Orly Ohayon were in the intersection when the traffic light changed and they were hit by a car driven by then 66-year-old Michael Fortunato. 

Fortunato was reportedly cited for two moving violations: failure to use due care toward a pedestrian and careless driving. He was also ticketed for driving with an expired license.

Florida Coastal School of Law professor Rod Sullivan says that no criminal charges were filed against Fortunato because his actions didn’t meet the legal criteria.

“In order to bring somebody up on a criminal violation, you have to prove that they knew what they were doing was likely to cause death or serious bodily injury," he said. "In the case of Mr Fortunato, he was traveling down San Jose Boulevard and he had a green light and simply driving down San Jose Boulevard with a green light is not substantially likely to subject somebody to death or serious bodily harm.”

This was Fortunato’s second fatal traffic accident involving a pedestrian on San Jose Boulevard.  That one happened in 2009, too long ago, Sullivan says, to make a legal difference in the current case.

Fortunato is due in court next month.

You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.