SURREY — Sometimes it’s awful to be right.
Christina Holland and her husband Trevor were waiting to turn left in Clayton early Thursday evening, at 190th Street and 72nd Avenue, when her grim prediction became real.
“As we were waiting I said to my husband this crosswalk is brutal, they really need a light, one of these days someone is going to get hit, and then wham— she got, it was like right as we were talking about it, it was awful.”
A Jeep hit an 18-year-old woman, right before their eyes.
“One car had already stopped and she started to cross the road and that’s when she was hit by the car coming in the opposite direction.”
|Christina Holland (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)|
Holland, who lives in that neighbourhood and runs a daycare, said she later learned the victim was released from hospital and was at home resting the morning after the Jan. 11 crash.
“She doesn’t have any broken bones, she has a few stitches and she lost a tooth,” Holland said. “She’s very lucky. I guess she was a student from China. She was in all dark clothing, with a dark red umbrella.”
Others have not been lucky.
Surrey recorded its first pedestrian fatality this year on Jan. 5, when a 79-year-old man died of his injuries one day after being struck by a Ford pickup truck, shortly before 6 p.m., at 72nd Avenue and 130th Street in Newton. It was also Surrey’s first major pedestrian-related crash of 2018.
“It looks like the driver turned left into the pedestrian there, didn’t see him for whatever reason,” Schumann said in that case. “The driver remained on scene and is cooperating with police.”
“Visibility will be considered,” Schumann added. “Nothing is being discounted right now except for speed and impairment. Those are not being considered as factors.”
The victim in that case had also been in a crosswalk, at an intersection with street lights.
On Friday morning, Jan. 12, another pedestrian sustained life-threatening injuries when he was struck in the 3000-block of 192nd Street, shortly before 5 o’clock. Police have yet to reveal his age.
He was not walking in a crosswalk but rather “down the middle of the road,” Schumann said. Not a good idea, he agreed, “especially wearing dark clothing in a poorly lit farming area, at ten to five in the morning.”
Meantime, Holland said her husband ran across the road to help the young pedestrian who’d been struck down in Clayton. “Some neighbours and other vehicles stopped. It’s right there in front of one house where a man had run out and got a blanket and stuff. I stayed in the car with my two young children and I called the ambulance.”
The driver of the jeep remained at the scene.
“She was pretty upset, obviously.”
As for that particular crosswalk, Holland said, “I’d actually requested the crosswalk in the summertime. My daughter was starting school there and I just knew if we had to cross that road it was going to be necessary but since the crosswalk’s been put in there’s been a few times where we’ve tried, or attempted to walk and stood at the crosswalk and waited for at least three to five cars before somebody would stop, before we could walk, and that’s in broad daylight. So, it’s pretty bad.”
As for Holland’s eerie prediction, Schumann remarked, “What are the chances? But I mean don’t blame the crosswalk, really. Drivers have a responsibility as do pedestrians.”
|Surrey RCMP Corporal Scotty Schumann. (Photo: Now-Leader)|
Last year eight pedestrians were killed and 10 were seriously injured on Surrey’s streets. All told, there were 20 traffic fatalities and 23 serious injuries in Surrey in 2017.
In comparison, 10 pedestrians were killed in Surrey in 2016 and 20 were seriously injured. That year, Surrey recorded 14 fatalities and 29 people seriously hurt in crashes.
A tally for all pedestrian crashes so far in Surrey this year, serious to the most minor, was not available at press time.
“I’m not sure we keep a running total of it because that number doesn’t serve a purpose. It would be interesting to you and your readers, but it doesn’t help our investigations,” Schumann said. “I don’t know about the numbers, whether we’re seeing an increase or a decrease, but we always see a spike in pedestrian crashes during the winter months, and that’s attributed to the shortened amount of daylight.”
The top contributing factors to traffic fatalities are speed, distracted driving and impairment.
”That’s just in general, but I mean obviously the speed of the vehicle will contribute to whether a pedestrian dies in a crash or not. There’s so many factors it’s really hard to pinpoint it, but I would reiterate the message that the onus is on the drivers and the pedestrians to pay more attention while on the road. Pedestrians need to remember that even if they have right-of-way, they need to make sure that a car is going to yield the right-of-way to them and not just assume the vehicle is going to stop when they’re crossing.”
Drivers, conversely, should be “giving 100 per cent attention to the road in front of them, driving appropriately for conditions.”
“You can improve the likelihood of being seen by a driver if you’re wearing bright or reflective clothing. When my wife is jogging in the evening she’s wearing light-coloured clothing, a flashing light and reflective wrist bands and anklets. She’s more likely to be spotted by drivers than somebody wearing dark clothing.”
Following are the pedestrian fatalities in Surrey to date, 2017-18:
- On Jan. 4, a 79-year-old man was struck by a pickup truck at 72nd Avenue and 130th Street in Newton and died of his injuries the following day. He had been crossing in a crosswalk with street lights.
- On Dec. 15, an 81-year-old man was struck by an SUV turning into a strip mall in the 7100-block of Scott Road, and died in hospital. It’s not known if he was jaywalking.
- On Dec. 8, two women were hit in a marked crosswalk near 128th Street and 80th Avenue. One of them later died of her injuries.
- On Nov. 25, a 73-year-old woman was killed while jaywalking near a signalized pedestrian crosswalk, at 146th Street and 108th Avenue.
- On Oct. 27, an elderly woman was killed when hit by a car while crossing over to the Surrey side of Scott Road, in the 7700-block. She was also jaywalking.
- On Sept. 26, a 28-year-old man was killed in a hit-and-run near 143rd Street and 92nd Avenue. The pedestrian died in hospital after a passerby found him lying unconscious on the road.
- On July 16, a 47-year-old woman was fatally struck by a car in a hit-and-run in the 10200-block of 149th Street and died in hospital.
- On June 15, a 21-year-old woman was fatally struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk at 168th Street and 60th Avenue and died in hospital six days later. She had complained about feeling “invisible” in that crosswalk before.
- On March 26, an 88-year-old man was fatally struck by a car while walking in the 7000-block of 138th Street, and died in hospital.