Betty Jean Artis decided to cross Constance Road in Suffolk, Virginia (VA). It was a road many pedestrians crossed due to its proximity to the Plaza West Shopping Center which featured many shops and restaurants. Unfortunately, Mrs. Artis, who was wheelchair-bound, never made it across the road. She was hit and killed by an SUV.
The driver of the SUV was charged with driving on a suspended license, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
I want to send my deepest sympathies to Mrs. Artis’ friends and family. She was apparently active and involved in the Chorey Park Apartment Complex Resident Council. Her life was changed in 2001 when she was involved in a car accident, which forced her to use a wheelchair. Despite this adversity, she remained optimistic.
“She used to say, ‘I don’t have my car, but at least I can roll around,’ ” said Brandon Randleman, her nephew, according to the Pilot article.
Sadly, numerous pedestrian crosswalk accidents result in a loss of life or very serious injury. This could be why Virginia implemented specific laws for pedestrian crosswalks. These crosswalks are the painted area at an intersection on a highway which has a speed limit of 35 miles or less. When a pedestrian is crossing a highway in a clearly marked crosswalk and the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour, the driver of any car, SUV, truck, etc. approaching that crosswalk is required to change course, slow down or come to a complete stop, if that maneuver is necessary to allow the pedestrian to cross safely. This is a special law that offers extra protection to pedestrians who are crossing streets in clearly marked crosswalks, and protects them from personal injury or death in crosswalks.
There is a clearly marked crosswalk between on Constance Road leading to the Plaza West Shopping Center (view the Google map below). Whether Mrs. Lantis used this specific crosswalk is still unknown.