George Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara told reporters Wednesday that a
family Zimmerman helped rescue from an SUV crash in Seminole County last week
backed out of a planned news conference due to concerns about being linked to
the controversial former defendant.
Mark Gerstle, who was driving the Ford Explorer when it overturned about 5:45 p.m. July 17, had planned to speak to reporters but changed his mind because he and his family became nervous about being in the spotlight, O'Mara said.
"I think what happened with them today was they were very worried, and I think they were advised by family and friends that they really shouldn't get involved with anything to do with George Zimmerman...and that's really sad," O'Mara said.
"They can't even say that George did something good for them because people out there believe he's so toxic even though he's been acquitted," O'Mara said.
O'Mara urged reporters to give the Gerstle family privacy.
Gerstle's wife and two children were in the vehicle when he lost control on a State Road 417 offramp, veered off the road and flipped on one side.
By the time a deputy arrived, Zimmerman and another man "had already helped assist the family by getting them out of the overturned vehicle," sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Smith said Monday.
The crash came days after six jurors returned a not-guilty verdict in Zimmerman's murder trial, sparking rounds of protests in a case that has divided the nation on such issues as racial bias and self-defense.
Prosecutors accused Zimmerman of profiling, pursuing and killing black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford on Feb. 26, 2012.
Zimmerman, then a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, said he shot Trayvon in self-defense after the unarmed Miami Gardens teen attacked him.
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