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Construction workers share concern after pedestrian death in Port Charlotte

Sunseeker
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 08:12:42-05

CHARLOTTE HARBOR, Fla. — On Thursday, Wilmer Maldonado spoke to Fox 4 after his first-day working construction for the Sunseeker Resort started out with a warning.

“As soon as I got there, the boss told us like one of the things you have to make sure is during your break when you get your food is make sure you don't cross the street (US 41). If I see anyone crossing the street they are getting fired,” said Maldonado.

Maldonado says it’s a stern warning after he says one of their own workers was hit and killed by a car while crossing the southbound lanes of US 41.

A spokesperson for Charlotte County Fire, Todd Dunn said the area where the worker, a 50-year-old man from Englewood was hit, does see a lot of traffic, but there are no plans to add any additional traffic lights for safety.

Fox 4 decided to dig deeper and find out why changes aren’t being made.

In an email to Fox 4, Dunn said the county does not keep a record of how many safety complaints have been made in the area where the man was struck and said that since US 41 is a state highway, it would be the responsibility of the state to make any changes such as a stoplight or crosswalk.

Dunn said there is a path that cuts under the US 41 bridge that people can use, but people who spoke with Fox 4 talked said it’s safe but inconvenient.

After walking the bridge, it took Fox 4 Reporter Colton Chavez 4:11 to go from one side to the other.

Maldonado said giving up four minutes to cross the street is a price he says is worth paying for his safety.

“I'm not looking to lose my job, so what I did is I took the car and I was like, hell no, I'm not going to cross the street I'm trying to keep my job and trying to keep everybody safe.

On Thursday, we reached out to the Owners of the Sunseeker Resort to ask about the message we were told by employees, but have not received a response at this time.