It was a regular Monday morning for Dee Bird as she drove northbound along Southwest 34th Street to take her son Timothy to an English class at U.F., but according to her, it became a day she will not soon forget.
"I stopped and just as I passed that white line, almost into the crosswalk, the young woman stopped and looked at me like I was in her way," Bird recalled. "I think she turned and looked at the light and realized where she was. Then she was like no more than two steps away and suddenly, boom."
Bird was able to stop in time, but a second vehicle was not and hit Catherine Barclift. Bird said Barclift did not have the right of way; the 22-year-old was jogging, had earphones on and appeared unconcerned as she crossed the four lane street. A scenario other pedestrians say is not uncommon.
"I get lost in my fantasy world sometimes when I'm listening to my headphones," U.F. sophomore Tim Powell said.
"People really do get involved in their I-Pods and their texting and stuff," U.F. freshman Morgan Carlton added.
A factor Bird said contributed to this accident.
"It's nice to have on when you're jogging and taking your walks, but if you're not familiar with your surroundings, especially during traffic times, situations like this happen," Bird said.
Bird tried to keep Barclift conscious until help arrived, but she said she was just as concerned for the mental health of the driver, who according to police, no charges are expected to be filed against.
"I walked up to him after the police came and I gave him a hug because he was so shaken," Bird said. "He had no clue what happened because it happened so fast."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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