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Friends shocked, puzzled by death

A Spring Hill man killed crossing Deltona Boulevard was always cautious, one friend says.

Friends of the man hit by a car Tuesday night while walking across Deltona Boulevard mourned the loss of the "loving, kind" man and hoped the condition of the friend who had been with him would improve.

Elmer L. Kenney, 85, of 2424 Abeline Road in Spring Hill was crossing the street with Mildred Irene Wilson, 82, of Massachusetts about 6:30 p.m. when a southbound car slammed into them. They were on their way to play a game of rummikub at a neighbor's house.

The driver, 17-year-old Christine N. Green of 9723 Langan St. in Weeki Wachee, told witnesses that she did not see the two as they crossed the dark street with a flashlight. Kenney was pronounced dead at the scene, and Wilson was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with severe injuries. Her condition was upgraded from critical to serious Wednesday.

Fred Hitt, the neighbor the couple was walking over to visit, said the accident was a shock to all the neighbors, who knew Kenney well.

"He was just a very concerned, very loving person," Hitt said. "Any time anybody got sick, he was knocking on doors. He was concerned about the people around him."

Wilson was an old family friend of Kenney's and had been spending the winter with him for companionship, Hitt said. Kenney's wife died about a year ago.

Hitt added that Kenney frequently crossed the street to visit people and was always cautious.

"I've crossed the street with him many times myself, and he always said, "Now you watch out,' " Hitt said.

Hitt's wife, Clara, said that the accident might have been avoided if the couple had come over a half hour earlier, when it was still light.

"We invited them to come at 6, that way it wouldn't be dark," she said. "But they couldn't make it until 6:30, 7."

Despite the darkness, Scott McCrary, who witnessed the accident as he drove north on Deltona on Tuesday, said he clearly saw the couple and did not know how the teenage driver missed them.

"When she realized they were there, she tried to avoid them, but it was too late," he said.

He added that the area, which is only blocks from his home, is poorly lit.

"I think they should put more lights up here," he said. "My wife and babies come through here all the time, and there's always teenagers racing through."

The wreck remained under investigation Wednesday, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report.

Kenney is survived by three daughters who live up north and two nephews, one from Crystal River and another from Pasco County, Hitt said. Both nephews are on vacation in Arizona and could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

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