By Jeff Gallatin
The second major car-pedestrian accident in North Olmsted during May has prompted police Chief Jamie Gallagher to make a renewed call for everybody to be more cognizant of safety on roadways.
“Everybody has got to pay attention and be aware of good safety practices on the road right now,” Gallagher said. “Pedestrians and drivers, our officers, everybody needs to pay attention and not be distracted.”
Gallagher’s comments were prompted by a May 30 midafternoon accident on Lorain Road in which a 42-year-old Cleveland man was hit while he attempted to cross the roadway outside a crosswalk area shortly before 3 p.m. Gallagher said the curb lane and area near it apparently had light traffic, which may have prompted the man to think it was safe to venture farther out into the road. Once there, a 72-year-old North Olmsted man hit the pedestrian with his vehicle as he was attempting to go through the turning lane.
“It appears that the driver never actually saw the pedestrian trying to get through traffic in that area,” Gallagher said. “We’re still investigating, but it appears this was was just a tragic accident.”
As of Monday, officials said the man remained in critical condition. The May 30 accident comes just four weeks after North Olmsted High School student Malik Adams died from injuries he suffered after being struck by a hit-and-run driver on Brookpark Road near Wal-Mart on May 2. A man came into the police station a few days later, and helped establish that he and his vehicle were involved in the accident. Police and the city prosecutor are awaiting lab test results before they make a final determination on possible charges.
Noting the severity of the two incidents, Gallagher said the responsibility for safety lies with everybody.
“Pedestrians have to be more careful of where and when they’re crossing the road,” Gallagher said. “They’ve got to stay in the crosswalks, not be crossing against the lights, and please be aware of traffic.”
Gallagher said drivers need to be aware of their speed, lights and the area around them.
“They can’t go speeding through areas, particularly where there is the potential for people to come out into the roadway and can’t be seen until it’s too late,” he said. “When there’s areas like that, you have to be aware someone could be coming out where you don’t expect to see them in the road.”
Gallagher said he also has emphasized good safety practices with his officers.
“I’ve reminded them that we have to be aware of jaywalking and that they need to be enforcing that,” he said. “We have to make sure everybody is doing what they can to make it safer – including our officers.”
Lou Brossard, chairman of City Council’s Streets and Transportation Committee, said Gallagher makes good points.
“It’s terrible that two tragic accidents like this have happened so close
together,” Brossard said. “They just
reinforce the need for all of us to be aware of the need to exercise good safety practices.”