Man in Wheelchair Fatally Hit by Truck

Mark Ynes, 61, in a undated photo from his Facebook page

Just after 3 p.m. on Friday, February 2, a man in a motorized wheelchair was fatally struck by another driving a pickup truck along 1st Avenue North at 55th Street in St. Petersburg.

According to police, Mark Ynes, 61, of 5435 Burlington Avenue N., was struck by Patrick Watrous, 60, who was driving a 2003 Ford F-150. Ynes was transported to a hospital where he died. When Ynes was struck, he was about two-and-a-half blocks away from his home.

As of the morning of February 7, a gofundme campaign was just halfway past its goal for raising funeral expenses for Ynes.

The website said Ynes “survived cancer twice” and that he is survived by three children and six grandchildren.

Ynes’ Facebook page says he was self-employed, was a native of Tampa and attended Hillsborough High School.

A landmark national study conducted by Georgetown University Medical Center released on November 19, 2015 showed that wheelchair users who are killed in car-pedestrian crashes are a third more likely to die than non-wheelchair users and that more than half of those deaths occur at intersections. Researchers also found that men who use wheelchairs are five times more likely than women to die in pedestrian crashes, particularly among men aged 50 to 64.

“Understanding and describing risks are the first steps to reversing them,” said John Kraemer, assistant professor of heath systems administrations at Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies. The study used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) that is based on police reports, along with data from news stories about car crash fatalities published in the LexisNexis U.S. newspaper database.

The intersection at the site of the crash is equipped with sidewalks along both the north and south sides of 1st Avenue North and each has curb ramps leading down to 55th Street. The north side of the one-way, three-lane westbound avenue also has a marked, street-level bike path located between the rightmost traffic lane and the parallel parking space area that is adjacent to the curb. Parallel parking is also available along the south side of the avenue.

Watrous is cooperating with crash investigators and, to date, no charges or citations have been filed.

On February 7, police said they are sorting through eyewitness statements and evidence collected from the scene as part of the ongoing investigation.

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