By Dan Moffett
A 91-year-old Palm Beach woman drove her Lexus off State Road A1A in South Palm Beach and struck two pedestrians, police say, killing Rinaldo Morelli and sending his wife, Lena, to the hospital on Jan. 24.
Police say Janet J. Reynolds, 3170 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, was driving north on A1A minutes before 4 p.m. when she swerved off the east side of the road.
Her car struck Rinaldo Morelli, 75, who was walking north along the shoulder between the Lantana Municipal Beach parking lot and the Imperial House condominium.
The impact carried Morelli some 15 feet onto the condo driveway, police say.
South Palm Beach Police Officer David Hul arrived shortly after the incident and performed CPR on Morelli, who was transported by helicopter to Delray Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Lena Morelli, 75, was treated for minor injuries and released from the Delray hospital.
Reynolds, who lives at The Enclave condominium a mile north of South Palm Beach, was not injured.
South Palm Beach Police Chief Mark Garrison said Reynolds has a valid Florida driver’s license, and authorities towed her 2009 Lexus from the scene.
Garrison said his department has turned the case over to investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office traffic homicide unit.
South Palm Beach Mayor Bonnie Fischer said the tragedy does not appear to involve an attempt to cross A1A.
For years, residents have complained to the Florida Department of Transportation that the town needs a crosswalk, but state officials have not been persuaded.
“I don’t think this was a crossing or crosswalk issue,” Fischer said. “They were walking beside the road.”
The Morellis have owned a unit at the Barbican condominium in South Palm Beach for years, the mayor said.
The Barbican is across A1A and a tenth of a mile north of the accident site.