Attorney seeks to re-create fatal hit-and-run crash scene

Dania Maxwell/Staff 
 A car rides past a memorial for Robin Wallace on Estey Ave on Thursday, October 4, 2012 in Naples, Fla. Robin was killed Saturday while riding her bike in the middle of the day. The identity of the driver who hit her is still unknown. Robin was 48.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL, NAPLES DAILY NEWS // Buy this photo

Dania Maxwell/Staff A car rides past a memorial for Robin Wallace on Estey Ave on Thursday, October 4, 2012 in Naples, Fla. Robin was killed Saturday while riding her bike in the middle of the day. The identity of the driver who hit her is still unknown. Robin was 48.

A lawyer in an East Naples auto negligence case has asked a judge for permission to reconstruct a hit-and-run crash that killed bicyclist Robin Wallace last September.

Miami-based attorney David Bianchi filed the motion earlier this month. He is representing Wallace’s husband, John, in a civil suit against Oakes Farms, whose driver caused the crash, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers say Wallace, 48, was riding her bicycle on Estey Avenue the morning of Sept. 29 when she was struck by a driver who never stopped. FHP later determined Jon Price, a truck driver for Oakes Farms, was behind the wheel during the fatal crash.

The FHP has not filed any criminal charges in connection with the crash. Officials said in February there was insufficient evidence to prove that Price, 59, realized he hit Wallace.

Bianchi hopes a video re-enactment of the crash will change that.

If the motion is approved, he plans to hire David Stopper, a Texas-based expert in commercial vehicle operation and crash reconstruction. The team will then film a re-enactment to show to a jury, a strategy Bianchi says has been successful for him in past cases.

“It’s the best way to show the jury exactly what the defendant driver should have seen,” he said. “People want to see that kind of thing.”

The attorney intends to have a woman of similar stature to Wallace wear similar clothes and ride down the road on a similar bicycle. The video reconstruction will show Wallace would have been plainly visible had Price been paying attention, Bianchi said, although there are some caveats.

While Bianchi believes Price was distracted before he crashed into Wallace, there’s no way to say so with 100 percent accuracy because there are no known witnesses and the exact time of the collision remains unclear. And while the point of impact is noted in FHP reports, it’s still unclear as to where Wallace was riding.

Troopers have cited Price for ignoring signs on Estey barring vehicles over 1 ton, but reports indicate they do not believe his vision was obstructed or that he was distracted.

Bianchi said he hopes to start filming the reconstruction next month if the motion is approved. Scott Shelton, a Bonita Springs attorney representing Oakes Farms, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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