UPDATE: Mr. Byrd passed away yesterday due to his injuries.
Around 2:00 a.m. this morning (Jan 18, 2017), 52-year-old Gerald Byrd of Snowy Heron Drive in Lakeland was attempting to cross US Hwy 98 South on foot near the intersection with Clubhouse Road in Lakeland when he entered into the path of a 1998 Volvo semi-truck which was heading southbound on US Hwy 98 and being driven by 46-year-old Eliecer Piedra of Hialeah. Piedra saw Byrd enter the roadway but was unable to avoid striking him. He immediately stopped and rendered aid and dialed 9-1-1. According to Byrd’s wife, he was at Linkster’s Bar on Tuesday evening, and around 1:45 a.m. Wednesday morning she spoke with him on his cell phone, and he told her he was going to walk home. Byrd was taken to LRHMC in extremely critical condition. The southbound lanes of US Hwy 98 were closed for several hours during the investigation. The area is well-lit in that area. The investigation is ongoing.