2 men struck, killed while tending to disabled vehicle on SR 50

Roadway reopens near Christmas after fatal wreck

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

CHRISTMAS, Fla. - Two men were killed and a third was seriously injured early Thursday when they were struck by a van on State Road 50 in east Orange County while tending to a disabled vehicle, officials said.

The fatal wreck was reported around 1:30 a.m. on S.R. 50 near St. Nicholas Avenue.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a 2013 Dodge van driven by a 35-year-old Orlando man was traveling east on S.R. 50 and struck a 2004 Acura TSX that had been involved in a previous crash and was pulled out of a nearby treeline by a passing motorist.

The van driver said he did not see the Acura and swerved to avoid it, but struck the rear of the car and the three men, who were standing in the road, the FHP said.

"It is so dark in this area in the overnight hours and by his statement, he just didn't see them at the last minute," FHP Lt. Kim  Montes said.

According to troopers, one victim was pronounced dead at the scene and another died at Orlando Regional Medical Center. The third victim, Eugene Richards, 21, of Winter Park, was taken to ORMC with serious injuries, the FHP said.

The van driver, who was wearing a seat belt, suffered minor injuries, troopers said.

Montes said the investigation is still in its early stages.

"(The van driver) did try and take an evasive maneuver, so charges are not likely, but we'll get to the end of the investigation to make sure everything is squared away," Montes said.

She said the crash serves as a reminder to always be aware of your surroundings when tending to a disabled vehicle.

"If the vehicle is too damaged or you're not able to get back into the vehicle, get as far off the road as possible, so that you're not a pedestrian in the road way and then vulnerable to another driver coming along that may not see you," Montes said.

Alcohol did not play a role in the crash.

Eastbound lanes of S.R. 50 were closed in the area but reopened around 6:20 a.m.

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