March 1, 2014 – Nicholas Ray Osborn and Marco S. Valez were killed in a crash on US 19 near the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.  Osborn was ejected from the car and Valez was found dead and seatbelted in the passenger seat of the car, which was submerged in a pond.  Witnesses reported seeing another vehicle which may have been racing the vehicle in which Osborn and Valez were riding.  Florida Statute 316.191 defines racing as “the use of one or more motor vehicles in competition, arising from a challenge to demonstrate superiority of a motor vehicle or driver and the acceptance or competitive response to that challenge, either through a prior arrangement or in immediate response, in which the competitor attempts to outgain or outdistance another motor vehicle, to prevent another motor vehicle from passing, to arrive at a given destination ahead of another motor vehicle or motor vehicles, or to test the physical stamina or endurance of drivers over long-distance driving routes.  A race may be prearranged or may occur through a competitive response to conduct on the part of one or more drivers which, under the totality of the circumstances, can reasonably be interpreted as a challenge to race.”  Racing is a criminal offense that can result in the violator being arrested.  In a personal injury context, racing is an aggravating factor that can result in punitive damages being awarded to people who are injured by the driver’s conduct.

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