WSP seeing spike in pedestrian deaths on major roadways

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

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KING5.com

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 6:05 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 11 at 8:34 AM

LYNNWOOD, Wash. - Troopers call it an alarming increase. Washington State Patrol's District 7, which covers four counties, has seen a spike in the number of pedestrian fatalities.

There have already been eight pedestrians killed this year in the district. Comparatively, last year at this time, District 7 had investigated two fatal pedestrian accidents.

"Every time we respond to one or get a call for one, we shake our head and say what is going on," said WSP Trooper Keith Leary.

KING 5 rode along with Leary Friday morning. It didn't take long to catch someone illegally crossing Highway 99 in Lynnwood. Leary gave the 16-year-old cyclist a warning.

"You can't be going across the road like that. I don't want to see you getting hit," Leary told the teen. 

The cyclist said he darted across six lanes of traffic because he was in a hurry. Leary told him about two pedestrian fatalities that happened on Highway 99 in the last six weeks. In June, an elderly man was struck and killed in the afternoon. On July 4, a 57-year-old woman was killed late at night.

Danny Wright, who walks along the busy highway everyday, said he has seen pedestrians take scary risks.

"You'll have kids coming to and from school, people walking around with headphones in, a lot of people don't pay attention. Between pedestrians and drivers, most of what I've seen is everybody is rushing to get somewhere," said Wright.

With the spike in deaths, District 7 Troopers are putting an emphasis on people crossing illegally. Pedestrians need to use the crosswalk and drivers need to be more aware of the pedestrians, said Leary.
 

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