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4 Days After Cyclist Killed at Devon/McCormick, Pedestrian Critically Injured on Same Block

2:34 PM CDT on October 1, 2018

The 3300 block of West Devon Avenue, looking east towards McCormick Boulevard. Image: Google Maps

On Sunday, September 3, an underage hit-and-run driver fatally struck contractor Jesse J. Rodriguez, 67, as he stood with his bike at the southeast corner of Devon Avenue and McCormick Boulevard, a massive junction of five- and six-lane streets. Another cyclist, who barely escaped being struck herself, said that the rounded corners of the intersection played a role by allowing the motorist to whip around the corner at a high rate of speed before striking Rodriguez.

The unsafe street layout may have also been a factor in another tragedy that occurred on the same block a mere four days later. On Thursday, September 27, at 7:23 p.m., a driver critically injured a female pedestrian on Devon just west of the intersection, according to Officer Michael Carroll from Police News Affairs. The motorist was driving east on the six-lane segment of Devon west of McCormick.

The woman, who was born in 1966, was transported to nearby Saint Francis Hospital, Carroll said. According to a commenter on a neighborhood listserve, her name is Kim, and she is being kept under sedation while she is being treated for head trauma.

The driver, who stayed at the scene, was charged with failure to exercise due care for a pedestrian in the roadway, Carroll said. The motorist has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, November 21, 3 p.m. at Traffic Court.

Listserve commenters stated that the woman lived at a nearby homeless encampment and was regularly seen at the intersection asking for money. A source at the police department indicated that she may have been standing in the street while panhandling.

As reported by Streetsblog USA, in May, Dayton, Ohio, moved to make it illegal for pedestrians to come within three feet of motor vehicles on dozens of busy roads in that city, a law that anti-poverty advocates said would mostly serve as a pretext to criminalize panhandling. “This legislation is disappointing because they are putting the burden of safety on the pedestrians on roadways that were designed for cars,” Emiko Atherton told of the National Complete Streets Coalition said at the time.

If it was the case that the victim of Thursday’s crash was standing in the street, obviously that’s not a safe practice. But it’s also the case that multilane roads in the middle of urban areas encourage drivers to travel at speeds that are likely to be lethal in the event that a pedestrian is in the road. We should build our cities so that when people on foot make mistakes, the penalty isn’t death or a life-changing injury.

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