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FHP: Same driver behind the wheel of two deadly accidents in Mandarin

Kaitlyn Springer Drive Safely Sign 09-15-13 (Lorena Inclan)
A drive safely sign at the corner of Kori Road and San Jose Blvd in memory of Kaitlyn Springer who was killed when she was hit by car while crossing the road. (Lorena Inclan)
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Updated: 9/16/2013 7:51 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Highway Patrol confirms 66-year-old Michael Fortunato was behind the wheel in two deadly accidents on San Jose Boulevard.

According to FHP, Fortunato's license was expired when he hit and killed Esther Ohayon on Friday. Charges are still pending against him for that accident.

Action News obtained records from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office that showed Fortunato ran over a family of three in 2009 at the intersection of San Jose Boulevard and Kori Road, killing 6-year-old Kaitlyn Springer. A "drive safely" sign with her name now sits at that intersection.

It's been almost four years since that day, but the wounds are still fresh for Kaitlyn's mother, Dena Grossie.

"I was hysterical. I was under the car with my daughter. I had my hand on her hand and I knew she was gone," said Grossie.

Grossie relived that day after learning of yet another crash in the same area and, according to FHP, by the same driver.

"It makes me very sad that Michael Fortunato has killed somebody else and destroyed another family," said Grossie.

Action News uncovered a long list of traffic infractions on Fortunato's record -- at least 15 violations dating back to 1996. The most recent one happened in April of this year when he was fined for running a red light.

Other offenses include four tickets for speeding, three for driving without a license, one for driving with an expired license, even careless driving and running stop signs.

Action News went to Fortunato's home for comment. A man came to the door but wouldn't answer any of our questions.

Fortunato's longtime neighbor, Grover Henley, was shocked to hear the news.

"He's a good man. He's a good family. Honestly as far as I know, been a very good neighbor, very good friend," said Henley.

But for Grossie, who has had to live without her daughter, trying to forgive and forget has not been easy.

"He's taken two lives. There just shouldn't be anymore lives taken by this man," said Grossie.

According to FHP, if it's determined that Fortunato committed a crime in the most recent crash, his license could be revoked. Fortunato is not facing any charges at this time, as investigators await the results of blood samples he volunteered at the scene of the accident.
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Billy Bob Hill - 9/16/2013 8:59 PM
1 Vote
Fortunato should be hung at the light by the neck . then deported back to NY or wherever he came from !
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