A tractor-trailer struck and killed a Hawthorne woman who was standing along U.S. Highway 301 in Orange Heights on Monday afternoon.
According to Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), a 41-year-old male truck driver from Lehigh Acres was traveling northbound just before 6 p.m. on U.S. Highway 301. For reasons still under investigation, the truck traveled off the road onto the right shoulder and hit a 49-year-old female who was standing by a mailbox near NE 78th Place in Orange Heights.
First responders transported the woman to UF Shands Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, FHP reported.
“I have no words for it,” Ohio resident Emilie Ocker wrote in a Facebook message to Mainstreet Daily News. “It was tragic.”
She said her family was traveling home following a trip to Florida when they observed the accident.
“I was behind the semi that hit her,” Ocker wrote. “He swerved completely off of the road on the right side, hit her, then crossed two lanes of traffic to the far left lane and then back in the right lane. We thought he was flipping his semi, but then we saw [the victim] rolling and stopped immediately.”
Ocker said the woman was still breathing when she got to her, so she “didn’t pass away alone.”
Ocker called “heroic” the local men who “chased [the semi driver] down” after the accident.