The sage but cynical advice “beware the kindness of strangers” was proven in a supermarket parking lot in Oakland Park, when a driver braked to let a pedestrian cross in front of his car. Then the motorist accelerated and hit the man he had just let pass.
Video showing what first appeared to be an act of kindness was released Wednesday by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which called the driver’s actions “bizarre, cruel and reckless.”
The Sheriff’s Office, which said detectives are searching for the unidentified driver, said the incident amounts to aggravated battery.
Here’s what happened at about 8 p.m. Feb. 23 in the parking lot at the Publix, 950 E. Commercial Blvd. in Oakland Park, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release and the video:
The driver of a car stops to allow a pedestrian to walk in front of his car. As the man finishes crossing in front of the vehicle, the driver accelerates and turns in the direction of the man — who is hit and knocked down.
The victim — whose leg was broken, the Sheriff’s Office said — can be seen getting up and apparently limping. The driver fled south on North Dixie Highway.
Additional security video shows a man, identified as the driver by the Sheriff’s Office, entering the Publix liquor store minutes before the attack. The agency described him as a heavyset male with a fair complexion, short brown hair and a close-cut brown beard. He wore a red baseball cap, a red T-shirt, khaki shorts and black sneakers.
Neither the victim, who doesn’t live in Florida, nor his attorney could be reached Wednesday.
The store is near the busy intersection of East Oakland Park Boulevard and North Dixie Highway, but the security video shows the section of the parking lot where the incident took place wasn’t crowded at the time.
Publix opened last year, at a location that for years had been an Albertsons then a Safeway supermarket.
Investigators ask anyone with information about the crash to contact Broward Sheriff’s Office Detective Mirelle Palushaj at 954-321-4226.
Anonymous tips can be given to Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477 or online at browardcrimestoppers.org.
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