A woman was killed in a crash while she was riding her bike in Collier County over the weekend. She was hit by a car that didn’t stop at a stop sign. Now, fellow bicyclists are outraged the driver will not face criminal charges.
Sunday, a driver hit and killed 62-year-old Cathleen P. Ragone while she was crossing an intersection on her bike in Collier County. Florida Highway Patrol confirms the driver will not face any charges and will instead be served a traffic citation for failing to stop at a stop sign.
Ragone was heading north along Livingston Road and crossing the intersection with Marbella Lakes Drive when a driver in a Jeep was heading west on Marbella toward Livingston and hit Ragone on her bike as she was crossing the street. State troopers say the driver never stopped before proceeding through a stop sign, but the driver remained at the scene.
The FHP report says the driver hit Ragone and dragged her from the crosswalk over there to a median in the roadway. Still, investigators say the crash wasn’t criminal.
“It’s just horrific,” bicyclist Linda Lynch said. “It’s right at the end of our street … We ran into it yesterday riding our bikes and saw it after the fact. They were there all night last night.”
Other bicyclists like Lynch were riding by the scene over the weekend, and they expressed their equal sorrow and fear about the deadly crash.
“We saw kind of the evidence of the incident, and it was really horrifying,” bicyclist Kenneth Abdo said. “It really stuck with us for the rest of the day to see something so brutal happen right here.”
Abdo was riding his bike with his daughter when he saw the crash aftermath. He told us the crash is a scary reminder bicyclists face on the road.
“I never cross this intersection specifically without getting eye contact with the person driving,” Abdo said. “Knowing that somebody could be not as aware environmentally and just blow through that stop sign makes you a little worried.”
In Florida, driving through a stop sign is not automatically considered reckless. Instead it’s more subjective. Recklessness is considered willful disregard for safety. Every year, Florida leads the nation in bicyclist fatalities, with more than 110 annually.
The driver doesn’t face criminal charges currently; however, the state attorney’s office has the power to elevate charges if it sees fit.
Because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there are no employees at the office to ask if that’s under consideration.
Abdo expressed anger toward the current punishment the driver responsible will receive, feeling it’s at the minimum currently.
“A lot of people’s lives were ruined,” Abdo said. “And, so in order for that to be a little more balanced, I feel like it should be a little more severe.”