On Friday, February 28, a man named Ricky Polk was driving through Brandon on his way to work as he observed two women panicking on the side of the road, both of them jumping up and down and crying.
Polk then felt his car strike something and he saw a figure in the rear-view mirror. Polk explained, “And I said to myself, ‘That felt like a body.’”
The driver pulled to the side of the roadway and immediately got out of his car. He frantically attempted to wave the other drivers on E Bloomingdale Avenue away from the injured pedestrian. Just moments later, another driver ran over him before stopping as well. A total of two more drivers ran over the victim, but kept going.
Ronald J. Sandalic was the pedestrian who was killed after being hit by a first car and then run over by four other drivers while lying in the road. Sandalic, a 57-year-old homeless man, was dressed in dark clothing as he tried to walk south across Bloomingdale Avenue around 4:30 a.m. near Maze Lane, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Madison A. Dvorak, age 19, who was eastbound in a 2005 Ford Focus, struck Sandalic, throwing the man nearly 70 feet to a spot in the middle of the roadway. As Dvorak stopped to dial 911, Polk approached in his 2005 Toyota Tacoma pickup and struck Sandalic, deputies noted. Polk then stopped, got out, and tried to wave drivers away from the injured man.
Sandalic was struck a third time by a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria, according to investigators. The driver, John Gallagher, age 57, of Valrico stopped and waited for authorities to arrive. Sandalic was then hit by two pickup truck drivers who sped away without stopping, deputies said. The accident prompted deputies to detour traffic in the area for several hours.
Pedestrian accidents involving that many vehicles are quite uncommon, but they do happen on roadways that are busy or have particularly dark spots, according to sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon.