Jacob Scott, 13 years old, died on Sunday, August 28, 2016, as a result of being hit last Thursday as he was walking to a school bus stop in Polk City, Florida. News media reports that Jacob Scott was walking on the south shoulder of Barfield Road and was hit at approximately 7:45 a.m. He was hit by a 2012 Kia Sorrento driven by Michael Andrew Edmondson.
Edmonson claimed that the sun was in his eye and that he could not see when he drifted into the shoulder of the road. At the point of impact, Edmondson was negotiating a curve and headed eastbound. Jacob Scott was dragged 40 feet until the vehicle began to spin. He was airlifted to Tampa and listed in critical condition. Law enforcement says that Edmondson was not speeding or texting.
Driver Claims Sun Was In His Eyes
From the image of the intersection, we can see that Barfield Road is at an unusual angle when viewing the intersection as a whole. The news report does not state which direction Mr. Edmondson was coming from, but I would assume that he was headed eastbound on SR559 and then made the shallow (but long) curve over to Barfield Road. If that is true, then Edmondson would have been looking into the morning sun the entire time as he was driving and would explain why he “missed” the pavement over on the far side of the intersection at Barfield Road.
The news report says “drifted” but I would rather use “missed” because it makes less sense to me that Edmondson would go off the pavement because of the sun. Instead, I think Mr. Edmondson entered Barfield Road with his vehicle in the grass based on the explanation. With regard to the news report that Mr. Edmondson was not speeding, I suggest that this is a case of going too fast for conditions in violation of section 316.183, Florida Statutes. As such, the unlawful speed statute states:
(4) The driver of every vehicle shall, consistent with the requirements of subsection (1), drive at an appropriately reduced speed when:
(a) Approaching and crossing an intersection or railway grade crossing;
(b) Approaching and going around a curve;
(c) Approaching a hill crest;
(d) Traveling upon any narrow or winding roadway; and
(e) Any special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
Mr. Edmondson, being from Polk City, is likely familiar with this intersection and may travel it frequently (probably daily to get to work). Considering that possibility and the law as underlined above, unlawful speed was likely a factor in this collision despite the opinion of law enforcement stated in the news report. As a result, Mr. Edmondson should be charged with careless driving (as most people who cause an accident are charged with) and should be held legally responsible for Jacob Scott’s death.