A centenarian from Osprey died following a crash in Melbourne after his granddaughter tried to avoid running over sandhill cranes crossing the road.
On Sunday, April 28, Suzanne Clark, 39, of Melbourne, was driving a 2016 Chrystler van with her grandfather, Robert Schantz, 100, of Osprey, in the passenger seat.
They were driving in the left lane of the double-lane Wickham Road in Brevard County, when unbeknownst to Clark, two cars — a BMW and a Toyota Avalon — had stopped ahead, waiting for two adults and one baby crane to cross.
As the van came upon the stopped traffic, Clark swerved into the right lane, apparently seeing the cranes, then swerved back into the left lane, striking the rear of the BMW and the Toyota.
Both Clark and her grandfather had to be extricated from the van.
Schantz suffered a leg laceration and had a tourniquet applied to the wound by a Brevard County Sheriff’s Office deputy before his extrication.
Schantz was transported to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, where he spoke with troopers about the crash, Montes said. Schantz, who lived in The Arbors Mobile Home Park in Osprey, later died from his injuries.
The other three drivers were all transported to Viera Hospital. Clark and the BMW driver were listed in serious condition the day of the crash. Clark was expected to be released the next day. The driver of the Toyota received minor injuries.
All parties involved in the crash were wearing their seatbelts.
The crash remains under investigation.
“The way the law is written, you always have to be using caution for anything in the road — a ladder, a car, anything,” Montes said.