Miami Beach police are slowly releasing more details about receiver Donte Stallworth’s fatal accident with a pedestrian last month, and things aren’t looking any better for the Browns’ oft-injured pass catcher. That means that just when Stallworth appears to be getting a break, a new wrinkle makes it look like his action was even more crass than originally thought.
(Does “flashing” a rushing pedestrian really equate to adequate warning?)
According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, Stallworth hit 59-year-old Mario Reyes in the far left lane of the six-lane MacArthur Causeway, where Stallworth was speeding by 10 miles-per-hour at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Believe it or not, that’s actually better than the original story, which held that Reyes was hit within the road’s crosswalk. Yet the much more troubling detail coming out is that Stallworth claims he “flashed his car’s headlights” to warn Reyes before running him down in the road.
Naturally, that begs a pretty obvious question: How could Stallworth have time to recognize there was a man in front of him, with his muscle memory triggering a warning flash of his headlights (a motor response that would take at least a second or two) but not have time to react by breaking with full power and swerving to avoid contact? As far as we can tell, there’s no reason.
Well, actually there is one reason: If Stallworth was still drunk from an overnight bender, he’d probably be reluctant to move outside his lane whatsoever. Still, “flashing” a poor man before you hit him in the road seems like the weakest excuse yet for a fatal accident. Trying to pass the buck off on a dead pedestrian — when you’re the one with a custom Bentley (pretty sure they have solid anti-lock brake systems) — is a pretty cowardly move, even if you’re freaking out in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
The police also released three 911 calls expressing concern over Lopez in the road, all while Stallworth’s stopped car sat nearby. Only one referred to hearing a hit, but evidently it was clear that Lopez was not going to be getting back up from the moment the accident happened.
“There’s a man laying in the middle of the road,” The first caller, a woman, said. The dispatcher asked for her location and a description of the victim. Then the woman blurted: “He’s dead. He’s dead … He was just laying in the middle of the road. I think he’s dead.”
If you thought Stallworth was going to be dealing with mental issues after killing an innocent crane operator, just think about the people who saw the guy sitting in the road are feeling, knowing that easily could have been them on a less fortunate Sunday.