Memorial Planned for Jewish Mother Killed by Car on Yom Kippur

Daughter on the Mend, Officials Eye Better Safety


By Anne Cohen

Published October 03, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

No charges have been filed against the driver, Michael Fortunato, 66, who has a long history of traffic violations and was involved in the death of a 6-year-old in 2009 only a couple of streets away from where the Esther Ohayon was killed. According to Sgt. Dylan Bryan of the Florida Highway Patrol, he had a green light. Law enforcement officials are still waiting for the results of Fortunato’s blood test, which would determine if he had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

According to residents, the intersection at San Jose Boulevard has been cause for concern for some time, especially for Orthodox Jews who cannot press the crosswalk button on Jewish holidays, leaving them only 10 seconds to cross an eight-lane highway. If they do press the button, they have 48 seconds to get across.

“As just a layperson, I didn’t know that.,” said Fred Pozin, president of the Conservative Jacksonville Jewish Center. “There’s a big gap between the two.”

Pozin also pointed out that the “walk” signs only cycle every 8 minutes if there are no cars detected on the opposite “feeder streets,” creating an incentive for people to jaywalk.

City officials and representatives from the Florida Department of Transportation met with leaders of the Jewish community on Monday to discuss options to ensure the safe passage of pedestrians on their way to synagogue.

“It was a really good meeting,” said Pozin, who attended the meeting along with Orthodox counterpart Rabbi Yaakov Fisch. “There seemed to be an atmosphere of ‘How do we bring solutions to this and allow more safety for those who are trying to walk to shul.’”

Pozin noted that four main options are being considered, including a delayed timer, which would extend the allotted time for pedestrians to get across the busy intersection during service times.

There has also been talk of building a pedestrian walkway, or even installing in road signaling or flashing lights alerting motorists to a heavy pedestrian area, he said.

An estimated 35,000 vehicles use the state road every day, Pozin added, noting that drivers often flout the 45-mp/h speed limit.

The group will reconvene in two weeks to discuss the multiple options, and come to an agreement on one compatible with the religious obligations of Orthodox Jews.

In the aftermath of the accident, Orly Ohayon’s aunt launched a Fundrazr campaign to raise funds for her niece’s treatment and rehabilitation. As of Wednesday, 1054 people had donated $66,445, more than 40% of the $150,000 goal.

Orly’s aunt said the teen is doing well at a rehabilitation center.

“They have a ‘crane’ there as well to move her into her chair with wheels :). She hasn’t done any wheelies yet but I see them in the future,” Karen Brown posted on a Facebook page. “Spending time with her friends is good therapy!”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.