Man in wheelchair killed while trying to cross Sunrise Boulevard

Fort Lauderdale police investigate hit-and-run crash

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor, Alex Finnie - Reporter, Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A man is dead after being struck by a vehicle while trying to cross Sunrise Boulevard in his wheelchair.

The hit-and-run crash occurred shortly before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 500 block of West Sunrise Boulevard.

Local 10 News reporter Alex Finnie said the man, who was paralyzed, was trying to cross Sunrise Boulevard when he was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man's mangled wheelchair could be seen on the side of Sunrise Boulevard.

Surveillance video captured the wheelchair flying across the usually busy roadway.

"I don't know how fast he was going. He was going pretty fast," witness Terrance Johnson said.

Johnson said he rushed over to the victim, who was laying in the middle of Sunrise Boulevard, but he said there was no saving him.

"I just saw his last breath," Johnson said. 

Friends identified the victim as "Popeye," a homeless veteran who panhandled in the area. 

"He got into an accident 13 years ago (and has) been homeless ever since," Tony Ehrlich said. 

Sandra Dykes works the overnight shift at the McDonald's nearby and said she often warned Popeye and others about panhandling in the street on busy Sunrise Boulevard.

"I kept telling (him), 'You are gonna get hurt. You are gonna get hurt.' He still did it," she said.           

Fort Lauderdale police are looking for a black Honda sedan with visible damage to the right front-end and windshield.

Anyone with further information is asked to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

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