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Man acquitted of charges issued following fatal traffic accident

By Staff | Jul 20, 2011

A Fort Myers man cited in March in connection to a traffic crash that killed an off-duty corrections officer was recently acquitted of the infraction.
Patrick S. McKart of 1745 Red Cedar Drive, Apt. 3, Fort Myers, was cited for a violation of right-of-way in a Jan. 12 accident that resulted in the death of Scott E. Wheeler, 24, of Fort Myers. Wheeler sustained fatal injures after being ejected from the motorcycle that he was operating.
McKart was not injured in the accident.
Cape Coral police found that McKart was at fault for violating Wheeler’s right-of-way, while Wheeler’s “excessive speed” contributed to the crash, according to a traffic homicide report released by the police department.
McKart was fined $159.
On March 29, a hearing request form was filed with the Clerk of Courts.
Last week, McKart pleaded not guilty to failure to yield make left turn before Lee County Judge Archie Hayward, according to court documents. McKart was found not guilty in a non-jury trial and was acquitted of the infraction.
He was credited for the fine.
Wheeler was driving a 2009 Yamaha motorcycle east on Pine Island Road when he collided with a 2002 Mitsubishi Diamante driven by McKart at about 5:57 p.m. at Skyline Boulevard. McKart, who had been headed west on Pine Island, was attempting to turn south onto Skyline when the two collided.
According to the released report, witnesses reported that Wheeler was traveling at a high rate of speed prior to the crash. A police officer in the area at the time estimated Wheeler’s minimum speed to be about 70 mph.
McKart told investigators that he came to a complete stop at Skyline and allowed traffic to pass before he attempted to turn, the report states. He saw an SUV traveling east on Pine Island and a motorcycle next to it, and it appeared that both vehicles were traveling at the same rate of speed.
Wheeler had been with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. At the time of the crash, he left behind a pregnant finance and two young children.
He was the city’s first traffic fatality for the year.