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Pedestrian struck, killed New Year's Day in West Park

Investigators say driver swerved to avoid man lying in road

WEST PARK, Fla. – The first day of 2015 was deadly for a pedestrian who was hit by an SUV.

The Broward Sheriff's Office said a woman in an SUV was driving west in the center lane of Hallandale Beach Boulevard about 6:45 a.m. Thursday. As she approached 441, there was a man lying in the road.

Investigators said the woman swerved to avoid the man, but the driver's side tires of the vehicle hit him.

The victim was identified as James Mattson, 56, of West Park. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It's unclear why Mattson was lying in the road, but statistics show that the odds were against him and other pedestrians on New Year's Day.

According to the USA Today, pedestrians are 1.7 times more likely to hit by cars on the first day of the year. About half of all fatal accidents involving pedestrians occur in the early-morning hours and 58 percent of those people killed are intoxicated.

Experts said the reason is simple: Drunken people often cross against a sign, jaywalk or even lie down in the road.

Detectives said the driver who hit Mattson Thursday morning stopped after the accident, and there's nothing to indicate that she was under the influence at the time.

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