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Pedestrian Hit and Killed By Car in Indianapolis on New Year's Day

Steve Wagner

For one Indianapolis family, 2017 is off to a somber start.

Police say a female pedestrian died when she was hit by a vehicle in the city in the early hours of the new year.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, an unidentified motorist was operating a vehicle south along North College Avenue, just north of downtown. As the driver approached East 16th Street, shortly after midnight, the vehicle made contact with a subject on foot.

It is unclear whether the woman, 55, was in a crosswalk at the time of the accident, although the intersection has crosswalks and pedestrian signals at all four crossings. Paramedics arrived on scene, but were unable to save the victim. She was declared dead.

The name of the female victim has not yet been released. No word on where she was going at that late hour, but our deepest sympathies go out to the family.

The IMPD has characterized the death as accidental. No foul play, negligence or illegal activity has been mentioned.

Investigators say the motorist has cooperated with the investigation and has not yet been charged. A blood sample was obtained, per police protocol.

Of course, alcohol is a risk factor for both drivers and pedestrians, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol is involved in 49 percent of accidents that involve a pedestrian death, the CDC reports.

Among those, 34 percent of fatal accidents involved a pedestrian with a blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher. Meanwhile, 15 percent involved a driver with blood-alcohol level of .08 or higher.

Sadly, the event marks the continuation of an upward trend in pedestrian fatalities.

The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that pedestrian deaths increased 10 percent in 2015. A reported 2,368 pedestrians died in traffic crashes between January and June of 2015, up from 2,232 during the same period in 2014. Experts expect that number to jump even higher as pedestrian deaths are often under-reported.

The incident is a timely reminder of how vulnerable pedestrians are. Especially during the darker winter months, pedestrians can be difficult to see.

If you’re traveling on foot, be sure to wear light-colored clothing that will be more visible in darkened conditions. A reflective safety vest is also recommended. Some pedestrians even carry a flashlight on their journeys.

Pedestrians should also take note of traffic signals. Cross only when lighted signals say “walk” or when a clearly visible crosswalk is present. Avoid crossing in the middle of the block in favor of a corner whenever possible. The CDC reports that most fatal pedestrian accidents happen in urban areas at night at a non-intersection location.

Walk perpendicular to the street, not diagonally. This will help you cross the street as fast as possible.

As 2017 gets under way, let us resolve as driver to be more respectful of pedestrians, and as pedestrians to be more responsible for our own actions.

Have You Been Involved In an Accident and Need Help

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