ORLANDO, Fla. — George Zimmerman, the man recently acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, helped rescue a family from an overturned SUV last week, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday.
According to sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Smith, deputies were called to the crash about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.
A Ford Explorer sport-utility vehicle had gone off the road and rolled over in the area of Interstate 4 and Highway 46, Smith said, with two children and their parents inside. No one was reported hurt.
By the time a deputy arrived, Zimmerman and another man “had already helped assist the family by getting them out of the overturned vehicle,” Smith said.
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“Zimmerman was not a witness to the crash and left after making contact with the deputy,” Smith said in an emailed statement.
The crash came days after six Seminole County residents returned a not-guilty verdict in Zimmerman’s high-profile murder trial. Prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling, pursuing and killing Martin in his Sanford, Fla., town house community Feb. 26, 2012.
Sanford police did not immediately arrest Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, after he said he shot the Miami Gardens teenager in self-defense inside a Sanford gated community.
After the story caught fire on national media outlets, he was arrested, charged and the subsequent trial led to his acquittal after 16 hours of deliberation by the all-female jury.
National civil-rights leaders and demonstrators disappointed by the verdict called on the Justice Department to investigate whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon’s civil rights. Vigils calling for justice were staged last weekend at federal courthouses across the country.
Sanford police confirmed Monday that they have delivered boxes of evidence from their investigation into Zimmerman to the FBI’s Orlando office.
Capt. Jim McAuliffe said the delivery — which includes the gun used the night Martin was fatally shot — was shipped off after the federal agency requested it. Sanford police held on to the items — including Trayvon’s clothes, cellphone and the soft drink and bag of Skittles candy found in his pockets — in a secure area before sending them to federal authorities.
The U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation shortly after the unarmed black teenager’s shooting death more than a year ago, but has not filed any criminal charges.