Man in wheelchair killed after getting hit by vehicle

Workers at a gas station near Orange Blossom Trail and Holden Avenue say 78-year-old Phillip Tobin would go in every morning for a cup of coffee and a cigarette. But early Thursday morning, a horrible accident left him dead on the pavement on OBT.

Troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol say the wheelchair-bound Tobin was crossing OBT at the crosswalk near Holden after 5 a.m.  They say a woman driving southbound on OBT slammed into Tobin as he crossed.

Guy Joseph was working at the gas station when it happened.

“When I was inside I heard something make a big noise. When I go outside I saw the accident. I saw this guy lying on the floor,” he says.

The gas station security cameras caught the incident on the edge of the screen.  As soon as it happened, Joseph switched on the overhead lights and went outside, and he saw Tobin on the blacktop, his mangled wheelchair not far away.

“When I found out it was my regular customer. Every morning he got a coffee and a cigarette. When I look outside and he's lying on the floor.”

The security footage shows police arriving within minutes. Joseph says he talked with the driver, just after the crash. “When I spoke to the lady, she said it was a green light, she hit this guy and killed him.”

The FHP report cites witnesses who say the light was green when the woman hit Tobin. Joseph says he will miss his daily customer. “I know him for a long, long time. Every time he come in here we talk, we joked, every day.”

People in the area say Tobin and his daughter used to live at an apartment complex nearby, but lately Tobin had been sleeping on the street near a laundromat. Highway Patrol says while there's no charges in this crash, it's still being investigated.

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