By Erin Smith
Two pedestrians have been struck by cars in the past three months in Elizabethtown. No charges were filed in either incident.
Lt Mark McMichael, with the Elizabethtown Police Department said, “To date there have been a total of 3 pedestrians struck in the roadways of Elizabethtown for 2018. Of the two incidents that occurred near McDonalds each was unique to itself. In each of these wrecks witnesses indicated to the responding officers that the pedestrians either ran or made a sudden movement in front of the oncoming traffic which resulted in the driver not having sufficient time to react.”
The most recent incident occurred on Sunday morning at 10:24 a.m. in front of the Walgreens. Ioannis Tzouras of Elizabethtown was coming from Walgreens after picking up medicine. Letitia Freeman of Clarkton was traveling north on South Popular Street when Tzouras stopped at the driveway of Walgreens and looked both ways, according to the report obtained from the Elizabethtown Police Department.
Tzouras then attempted to cross the highway and Freeman did not see him and struck Tzouras with the left side of her vehicle. According to the crash report, Tzouras made contact with the hood and windshield of Freeman’s vehicle and was then thrown into the air and landed on the highway where he slid 15 feet. Freeman’s vehicle traveled 50 feet after the crash.
The crash report notes the Elizabethtown Police Department has requested video footage from Minuteman service station across from the crash scene.
Tzouras was transported to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.
No charges have been filed.
In October, the Elizabethtown Police Department responded to a call at 6:02 p.m. on South Poplar near McDonalds, for a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. According to the crash report, Rhonda Rae Pendergraft of Kelly walked out into the roadway at S. Poplar Street. Lekeya Campbell of Elizabethtown was attempting to turn left off of Mercer Mill Road onto South Poplar Street and struck Pendergraft.
According to the crash report, Pendergraft fell and Campbell’s vehicle came to a stop. Campbell gave a voluntary statement and Pendergraft refused to give a statement.
No charges have been filed.
Since the crashes, the Elizabethtown Police Department is trying to ensure the safety of both motorists and vehicles in the area. Lt. McMichael said, “Officers have been monitoring the area for foot traffic and are actively using tools like radar to ensure our roadways are safe for everyone. Advice we would give to the public during this busy time is to give yourself extra time so you are not in a rush when driving.”
He continued, “There are a lot of people who are from out of town that do not know the roadways and become lost and disoriented. They are looking for signs or a place to stop that can help them navigate back to where they are going. Often times these people get tunnel vision and do not notice a stop sign or a person walking across a roadway. This is why we should look before entering an intersection even with the green light. Pedestrians need to look before crossing the roadways.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers some safety tips for pedestrians when crossing the street. They are:
1. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
2. Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
3. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
4. Keep alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
5. Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
6. If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
7. Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
8. Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
9. Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways, or backing up in parking lots.
10. Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also offers safety tips for motorists. They are
1. Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
2. Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
3. Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
4. Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the cross-walk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
5. Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
6. Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
7. Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
8. Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
9. Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.