Two peds hit near Belmont Bridge
A pedestrian was struck by a car on the south side of the Belmont Bridge just before noon today, and on September 12, a pedestrian was struck at Ninth and Jefferson on the north side of the bridge.
This morning's accident occurred at the corner of Graves and Avon streets near Spudnuts donut shop. According to city spokesperson Ric Barrick, the pedestrian, whose identity has not been released, "stepped off the curb into the street–- not into a crosswalk–- and the driver was not able to react in time."
According to Barrick, the first officer on the scene interviewed the driver, the pedestrian, and witnesses, before deciding a ticket for the driver was not warranted. And unlike an incident in November 2007 in which a wheelchair-bound pedestrian was ticketed after being struck in a crosswalk, this time police decided not to pursue charges against the injured pedestrian, who was transported to UVA hospital. Barrick says there were no serious injuries.
In an incident on Friday, September 12, a woman out walking her dog was struck just after 6am as she crossed Ninth Street heading west on Jefferson Street. Driver James E. Shifflett was turning left onto Ninth Street from Jefferson St. and struck 59-year-old Logan Blanco. Both are residents of the Little High Street Neighborhood.
"It seemed to lift me up a little; I felt very rag doll-ish," Blanco recalls of being struck. Blanco says she was walking before dawn in the rain and carrying an umbrella, when the bumper of Shifflett's pickup collided with her side. Knocked to her hands and knees, Blanco says, she "scrambled to the sidewalk next to the barbershop," where she laid down until the ambulance arrived. Shifflett, she says, remained on the scene and called for help.
Blanco says she was in shock when rescue personnel arrived and may have led those on the scene to believe she "wasn't very badly hurt" when, in fact, she was.
"I went into the ICU actually," she says. Blanco remained hospitalized at Martha Jefferson Hospital until Tuesday, September 16 with bruising of her internal organs.
Shifflett has been charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian and will appear in Charlottesville District Court on October 6. He declined to comment on the accident citing his pending court date, other than to say he "feels terrible."
The issue of pedestrian safety has captured the public's attention several times in the past year after two wheelchair-bound pedestrians were struck in crosswalks. The first victim, Gerry Mitchell, was hit by an Albemarle County Police Officer–- and then ticketed.
Earlier this month, a pedestrian advisory committee presented recommendations to city council. The committee proposed a $700,000 budget to address common pedestrian woes including varied signage, broken sidewalks, and increased education for drivers and pedestrians. Council approved those recommendations and has reallocated the funds.
–Story last updated at 9:42pm September 30. The original posting incorrectly stated Council was still considering the pedestrian committee's recommendations.–ed.