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I-Team10: Dangerous Intersections

Updated: 07/10/2013 11:25 PM
Created: 07/10/2013 5:33 PM WHEC.com

I-Team10 poured through hundreds of police reports of every person hit by a car or truck in the city over just one calendar year. We found at least 50 percent of the blame on the streets today.

In our video you see a woman running diagonally across one of the busiest intersections in the city. Main St. and Clinton Avenue. She did it to catch her bus.

It shows another woman in green, crossing against the red light with cars driving behind her. She said she was in a hurry to get to work.

Brean: Couldn't you have waited a little longer?
Karen Carmichael: Yeah, I could have.
Brean: But you go ahead and do it anyway?
Karen: I wasn't paying attention honestly.

The video captures another man walking against the light. When he got to our location he knew he got busted.

Robert Thorton: Yes I see what you're saying.
Brean: You just (walked against the light).
Thorton: Yeah I know (laughs).
Brean: Why did you do that?
Thorton: Because the street was clear.

We watched it happen again and again, people crossing against the light and in the middle of streets.

But just wait.

It gets worse.

First, how we got here.

I-Team10 obtained the police reports of every incident where a pedestrian got hit by a car or truck. We pinpointed every accident on a map. There's a pin marking all 180 pedestrian accidents. The pins cover every inch of the city.

Click here to look at the map

There are hot spots: inside the inner and loop and a stretch of Monroe Avenue between Alexander Street and Goodman Street.
But then we dug deeper into a sample of the reports and found that in at least 50 percent of the cases, the pedestrian was at fault. Situations like a person walking "in front of a parked vehicle" or "behind a parked vehicle" where the driver told police they "did not see" the person and had "no time to react."

In a random sample of the reports -- half of the time -- the pedestrian was to blame.

"Are you surprised by that fact?" I asked Rural Metro Ambulance's LaShay Harris.
"I can't say that I'm surprised," she said. "I can say it's alarming."

Last year Rural Metro, which covers more than just the city, got called to 300 cases of people hit and took 200 of the victims to the hospital.

"That's telling us there is a significant amount of pedestrian struck cases out there and we can do something by educating the public on how to walk across the street safely," Harris said.

She means stay in the crosswalk and wait for the walk sign. Stuff we learned as children.

But remember when we said it gets worse?

Here it is: our camera catches a father walks his two little children across Main and Clinton and against the red light.

Brean: I saw you get across the street and the light was still red.
Adrian McMillan: I guess because they're doing construction right here so they got the traffic blocked off so that's why I crossed the street real quick.
Brean: Even with two little ones like this?
McMillan: Yes.

Then five minutes later it happens again. This time the child was in her mother's arms.

Brean: Wy did you do that?
Tiffany Rollow: I don't know.
Brean: Even with a little baby in your arms?
Rollow: Yeah (laughs).
Brean: Don't you think that's a little dangerous?
Rollow: Yes.
Brean: So why would you do it do you think?
Rollow: I wasn't paying no attention.

Couple of things

Most of the people the I-Team watched today followed the law and crossed the streets carefully.

What did we learn and what should you know?

We can reduce the number of people hit by cars and trucks by half if people cross streets in the cross walk and wait for the green light.

Every time one of these victims was taken to the hospital by ambulance -- that cost money. If they have insurance, their premiums could go up. If they didn't have insurance Medicaid was billed. Medicaid is funded through your tax dollars.

Click the video player below to watch an interview about the investigation between News10NBC's Lia Lando and Berkeley Brean.



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