TAMARAC – An 84-year-old woman backing up her car ran over and killed a 87-year-old tenant who was sitting in a lawn chair in a grassy area at the base of her driveway Tuesday morning.
Iola DeSanto did not know Milton Katz was there, said Gerry DeSanto, her daughter.
She backed over him, and then while horrified witness yelled for her to stop, she ran over him a second time, then a third.
Even after police left the area, Katz's white Velcro Strider sneakers, lay splattered with blood on the sidewalk of 8200 block of Northwest 71st Avenue in the Heathgate-Sunflower neighborhood. Blood stained the sidewalk and his twisted, crumpled lawn chair lay on the lawn.
Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright said charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.
For about a year, Katz rented a room in the three-bedroom house from Iola DeSanto, said Gerry DeSanto.
When Iola DeSanto was backing up in her black 2003 four-door Saturn she didn't know Katz was there, her daughter said. It was about 8:30 a.m. and the elder DeSanto was on her way to work, a telemarketing job in Margate where she works the telephones.
"She looked but she didn't see anything. It was just an accident," Gerry DeSanto said. "I called 911. She was screaming, 'Come here right away, I ran over somebody,' She didn't even know it was Milton."
Witnesses said DeSanto backed over Katz and then pulled forward over him, then back again as they yelled at her to stop. When she got out of her car and saw what had happened she said "Oh, my God," and went into her house, said Gilberto Lopez, who was installing tile flooring at a nearby home.
"My friend yelled 'Stop, stop' and she doesn't understand 'Stop,' " said Lopez.
"He had blood here," Lopez said, pointing to his face.
"Oh my God, I don't want to see any more of those kinds of accidents."
City spokeswoman Lucy Crockett said Derick Jones, a driver for Tenex Enterprises Inc., which is conducting nearby roadwork for the city, saw what had happened and used his equipment to move the car off of Katz.
"He realized the car needed to be moved," Crockett said. "It would have been a lot harder for the paramedics to reach the victim to give him the treatment he needed."
Tenex President Hamid Fouladi said Jones was driving a Volvo loader with a bucket used to dig up the street. He got the car off Katz with the bucket.
"We're proud of him. We'll give him some award," Fouladi said.
Katz was airlifted to North Broward Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead later in the morning.
"We don't whether she was confused with what the witnesses were trying to tell her that she ran over someone, or she panicked," Coleman-Wright said.
"She feels very badly," said Gerry DeSanto, who lives in the same house with brick and rust-colored trim. "She is very shaken up."
Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-572-2008.