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Family of 98-year-old man killed by driver wants sidewalks, safer roads

George Fortier was walking near his home west of Boynton Beach
George Fortier was walking when he was killed near Boynton Beach. Jan. 10, 2024.png
Posted at 11:41 PM, Jan 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 02:58:42-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The family of 98-year-old George Fortier is calling for safer roads after he was hit and killed by an 86-year-old driver west of Boynton Beach on Monday afternoon.

"I think it's a shame there's no sidewalks in these communities," Lisa Buckley, the daughter of the victim, said Wednesday. "People are walking on the side of the road the same area were cars come through and when you have a curve or bend in the road, people are vulnerable without a sidewalk."

The crash was reported at 3:26 p.m. Monday at 2288 Summer Tree Drive, east of Florida's Turnpike and west of Jog Road in the Palm Isles subdivision.

A 2010 Mercedes GLK 350 was traveling eastbound, while negotiating a right-hand curve at 7288 Summer Tree Drive, according to the crash report. Fortier was walking westbound on the southern edge of the roadway on the inside of the right-hand curve.

As the car made the curve, it collided with Fortier.

Buckley said her dad, who loved to be outdoors, was walking toward the mailboxes across the street from his house when the crash happened.

George Fortier was talking to the mailboxes cluster when he was struck and killed by a car west of Boynton Beach. Jan. 10, 2024
George Fortier was talking to the mailboxes cluster when he was struck and killed by a car west of Boynton Beach.

Buckley said she's the youngest of three children, and that their mom, Fortier's wife, was married to him for 69 years.

Buckley said her father was friendly with a great sense of humor and been living in the Boynton Beach area for 25 years.

She said Fortier was born in France and as a child he was sent to live in southern France by his mother during the time of the Holocaust to escape from the Nazis.

He then served in the French military during World War II and later moved to New York, and put her and her two older brothers through school on a server's salary.

"He was a survivor. There were so many times he could have perished, from his childhood and then the war. He was an adventurer," Buckley said. "He's old and he had a very full life and we knew this was coming soon we're just so surprised how it happened."

Neighbors say Fortier loved being outside and would always walk around to socialize with his friends.

"It's such an unfortunate situation and our hearts go out to the family, we always have safety at the forefront of our projects," Mario Guzman, the director of public works for the city of Boynton Beach, said.

The crash occurred west of the city.

Boynton beach officials said pedestrian safety has been a concern and focus point.

The city has a program called "Drive Safe Boynton" where any resident can contact the group if they have a street safety concern in the city or their neighborhood.
"We have roundabouts, we have speed humps, speed tables, raised intersections," Guzman said. "A lot of times we don't have eyes and ears out in the road so if you let us know what's going on, we can take care of it.
Guzman said the city received $4 million in funds from American Rescue Plan Act funds due to the needs in the city.

"As a nation as a whole we have to be mindful that more people are driving cars and moving from one location to the other so that's why we're really big on having sidewalks to connect the community and also have bike lanes for alternative traffic measures," Guzman said.

The money will go into road paving, extra bike lanes and widened side walks along main roads and in neighborhoods.

"When incidents like this happen it's just an unfortunate reminder of hey this is why we do what we do and why we have to take these measures," Guzman said.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the crash is still under investigation.

A service for Fortier will be held Thursday.