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Elderly man struck by SUV dies

The driver swerved to avoid a third person but hit the man and his wife.

By JACOB H. FRIES
Published March 27, 2007


LARGO - An elderly Largo man was killed and his wife injured Sunday night when they tried to cross Missouri Avenue and were struck by a sport utility vehicle, authorities said.

The couple, Armando and Mary Fallo, 85 and 80, respectively, apparently pressed the walk button at Jasper Street but couldn't cross the six lanes of Missouri before the light changed, police Sgt. Butch Ward said. They were both struck by a 1999 Ford Expedition driven by Laura Joy Kile, 38, he said.

Police were still investigating Monday, but no charges had been filed.

The crash occurred at 8:15 p.m. Sunday. The Fallo couple and a third pedestrian, Helen Zurag, 85, were walking west across Missouri, using the crosswalk, when the light changed, Ward said. The Fallos left the crosswalk and angled southwest toward the curb when Kile, who was traveling south, veered to miss Zurag and struck them.

"She didn't even see them," Ward said of Kile, who couldn't be reached Monday.

Armando Fallo suffered a broken leg and his wife a broken arm - injuries that emergency workers didn't consider life threatening, authorities said. However, Fallo's condition worsened at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg, where he died later Sunday night.

Mary Fallo remained hospitalized Monday in fair condition, a spokeswoman said. Efforts to reach family members were unsuccessful.

Pedestrians have a total of 29 seconds to cross Missouri Avenue at Jasper: 7 seconds with a green walk signal; 16 seconds with a flashing light; and another 6 seconds before the traffic light changes, officials said.

The state Department of Transportation, which owns the section of road, will review Sunday's crash and determine whether additional time should be added, spokeswoman Kris Carson said.

The length of a crosswalk signal is typically based on the average walking speed, 4 feet per second, but can be increased to accommodate children or elderly pedestrians.

Jacob H. Fries can be reached at 445-4156 or jfries@sptimes.com.