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2 men tried to cross U.S. 1 in the Keys. Both ended up in the hospital

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Two pedestrians were left in serious but stable condition after being struck by vehicles on U.S. 1 in the Middle Keys in separate crashes within two days.

Both men were blamed for the crashes, according to the Florida Highway Patrol reports, for “leaving the safety of” the shoulder of the road.

Neither incident involved alcohol, FHP said, and neither driver was injured.

The first incident happened at 11:29 p.m. Saturday near mile marker 50 in Marathon. Jeremy Gookstetter, 32, of Burien, Washington, was walking on the northbound shoulder and tried to cross the lanes and walked into the path of a 2003 Honda Odyssey, FHP said.

The front passenger side of the Odyssey struck Gookstetter, who was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Felix Gonzalez, 59, of Marathon, was the driver and Cesar Sajbin Tzarax, 21, of Marathon, was a passenger in the Odyssey.

Both northbound lanes were closed for about one hour with traffic flowing through the center turn lane.

The second crash happened at 4:19 a.m. Monday on Duck Key near mile marker 61.

Terry Patterson, 52, of Duck Key, was walking on the southbound shoulder when he tried to cross the highway and walked into the path of a 2006 Volvo. He was also airlifted to Jackson. Memorial Hospital.

The Volvo’s front passenger side struck Patterson.

Anders Ljung, 49, of Lake Placid, Florida, was the driver.

Traffic was not blocked or interrupted.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.
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