SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. – Law enforcement officials are increasing pedestrian safety enforcement two weeks after an 11-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle in Sunny Isles Beach and later lost his life.
According to Sunny Isles Police Sergeant Brian Schnell, people are unaware of just how dangerous stretches of highways in South Florida truly are – and this most recent tragedy is an example of that.
On Friday, Sunny Isles Beach Police were seen patrolling Collins Avenue doing high visibility enforcement to try and prevent a tragedy before it happens again. “The overall goal is to save lives, and to save people, and keep everybody safe,” says Schnell.
The enforcement program is a partnership between Sunny Isles Police Department and researchers from the University of North Florida. According to Sunny Isles Police, they reached out to the department in November of 2020 to uncover how Collins Avenue, between 170th and 189th streets, was a hot spot for dangerous accidents.
And, they were right.
Unfortunately, just around the corner from the said intersection, is where 11-year-old Anthony Reznik was struck by a car only two weeks ago. He was airlifted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital suffering from head injuries and was listed as in critical condition. Reznik’s parents said he would have turned 12 in a few months, and that he was an incredible athlete.
On Wednesday, doctors declared he was brain-dead.
“Now we’re talking about another tragic accident that happened that kind of pinpoints the need to have this kind of event happen,” says Schnell. Therefore, the department will be having more officers than usual patrolling that specific stretch of Collins Avenue, as well as the stretch right along Sunny Isles Boulevard in order to make sure drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists are being safe. “They see beach, they see the sun, they see the beauty -- they don’t understand there is some underlying dangers involved,” explained Schnell. “And if you don’t pay attention, you don’t follow certain rules and the laws, you could end up on the other end of that situation -- and we don’t want to see that happen.”
Police are handing out leaflets and brochures to those who they see doing things the wrong way. Officers have also been over at the exact red light where Reznik was fatally hit, pulling over and citing drivers who run it.