Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sixteen pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in Kansas City so far this year

An alarming trend has emerged in our traffic fatality statistics so far this year: 16 pedestrians have been struck and killed in Kansas City. That’s a quarter of all our traffic deaths to date in 2011 (63 so far). Just six pedestrians were killed in 2010, which comprised only 9 percent of fatalities last year. And this is just people on foot. We count bicyclists separately.

We often urge drivers to be careful, but now I think it’s important to urge pedestrians to be very aware of traffic around them. Of the 16 pedestrian deaths so far this year, some numbers to consider:

• 4 cases occurred on limited-access highways (highways with entrance and exit ramps), and 2 of those involved persons tending to or exiting from disabled vehicles.

• 8 cases involved pedestrians who were either walking in or along the roadway.

• 6 cases involved people crossing the roadway, and 2 of those persons were within crosswalks.

• 7 cases involved pedestrians who were found to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Most disturbing, there have been four hit-and-run cases in which a pedestrian was killed and the person who hit them just drove away. Three of these four cases remain unsolved. Without witnesses, it can be very hard to get justice for these victims, so any information you have about any of the following cases would be very helpful:

Kelvin Brown – Age 47, struck at 11:54 p.m. May 13, 2011, by a dark-colored pick-up truck as he crossed Paseo at 44th Street

Debra Johnson – Age 50, struck by an unknown vehicle at 12:16 a.m. August 14, 2011, on E. 10th Street just west of Harrison

Wildrain Wildberry – Age 71, struck by a silver passenger car at 2:09 a.m. on Paseo near 45th Street.

Please call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477) if you have any information about the hit-and-run crashes that killed these people.

Walking during the day and in well-lit areas, using sidewalks and crosswalks, and avoiding alcohol and drugs are easy ways to protect yourself as a pedestrian. Also, do not walk on highways. Vehicles are traveling at very high speeds and often do not have time to stop if they see a pedestrian. Nearly everyone has a cell phone nowadays, so if your vehicle breaks down, please call for assistance rather than walking somewhere to get it.

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