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Pedestrian Deaths Highlight Risks From Simply Crossing a Street

Two pedestrian fatalities separated by one week and 300 miles should again draw attention to the dangers people face when they cross local streets that are actually rural highways.

The first tragedy occurred in Nags Head, North Carolina (NC), when a 37-year-old East Carolina University graduate who had returned to the Greenville school to join the administration and risen to the position of assistant director of admissions, lost his life after being struck by a taxi cab. The man was attempting to cross the five lanes of the Croatan Highway/U.S. 158 at around 9:30 pm on July 9, 2011. The cab driver told police he never saw the man he hit, and investigators determined that excess speed did not contribute to the accident. The driver has not been charged with any violations.

The following Friday, July 15,  and almost exactly the same time, a 15-year-old skateboarder was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross Rockfish Gap Parkway/U.S. 250 in Crozet, Virginia (VA). The teen died at UVA Medical Center the next morning without regaining consciousness. Albemarle County police did not announce the cause of the deadly crash and, at the time of the boy's death, had not charged any motorists in connection to the accident.

My Carolina personal injury attorney colleagues regularly advise pedestrians to stay on sidewalks, use crosswalks and obey traffic signals when crossing roads. As lifesaving as these precautions can be, people in rural areas cannot always take them, simply because they find themselves having to share roadways with cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles and semis in places that lack any conveniences for pedestrians.

When that is the case, drivers have added obligations to watch for people on foot, especially at night and in places where pedestrians are likely to enter traffic, such as near shopping centers.


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