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On Monday evening, a Louisville woman was walking along Southside Drive. At about 6:30p.m., she was crossing the street at or near the intersection Tenny Avenue when a motorist driving a Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) tow truck struck and killed her. The woman’s identity has not been released.

The usual reports came from WDRB, WAVE3, WLKY, and WHAS11, with LMPD spokesperson Dwight Mitchell making the usual victim-blaming statements about the person not glowing in the dark.

“Of course, education is always the key in terms of wearing reflective clothing and always crossing in crosswalks,” Mitchell told WAVE3. “It appears in this situation that that was not the case.”

Distances to the nearest crosswalk. (Courtesy Google / Montage by Broken Sidewalk)
Distances to the nearest crosswalk. (Courtesy Google / Montage by Broken Sidewalk)

As we have noted many times before, a person’s fashion choices while walking in Louisville should never be used to blame them for traffic violence. One note that Mitchell did not mention in talking with press is that the nearest crosswalks from the point of the collision is 1,400 feet south to Kingston Avenue or 1,800 feet to the north at Woodlawn Avenue. There are no crosswalks at Tenny Avenue near where the collision took place.

speed-fatality-rate-chart-02

speed-fatality-rate-chart-01

The condition on the ground was rainy with the sun having set an hour prior, so visibility was reduced—as was braking ability. But the speed limit on this stretch of Southside Drive is 25 mph, which should have given an appropriate time for reaction and statistically carries a 95 percent crash survival rate. Something clearly went wrong.

Other site details: The collision took place in front of a TARC stop on a two-lane road (with a center turning lane beginning at this intersection). The Southside neighborhood here is densely populated and has plenty of sidewalks, although the long stretches of 25 mph roadway with no traffic lights or stop signs can promote speeding by motorists.

Louisville is currently in the midst of a three-year, federally funded street safety campaign called Look Alive Louisville. The city is among the worst by population for pedestrian fatality rate. We need to advance the dialogue about these collisions if we’re going to make our streets safer.

Our thoughts are with the family of the victim.

[Correction: A previous version of this article said the sun was going down at the time of the crash. It had, in fact, set at 5:30p.m. The article has been corrected.]
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7 COMMENTS

  1. Like Lexington Road in St Matthews, caught in the clutches of KDOT and without a single crosswalk, a bus stop eastbound in the middle of a backout style parking lot , and only one intersection with a light.
    Commerce developed on both sides ofthe street but you must jaywalk to even get to the mid block parking lot TARC stop. Look alive my ass….. How about actually getting out of the metro ivory tower and finding these places and fixing same?! It’s paint and lights…..(and crosswalks used to be in place on this stretch but no more ….)
    Very sad to be blamed for what’s likely not just the fault of the deceased.

  2. So she was wearing dark clothes, at night, in the rain, tried to jaywalk across a wide road and stepped in front of a car, but it’s the driver’s fault? That doesn’t make any sense. Pedestrians are just as responsible for their actions as drivers are.

  3. She was a 64 year old woman who could still be alive if a motorist was driving responsibly.

  4. My grandmother lived at first and Tenny for about 10 years, there is a cross walk at Southside dr, it is a safe cross walk. The tow truck driver was probably speeding in the rain. There is nothing wrong with the way Southside Drive is set up.

  5. Its never the fault of the police is it??? They are all saints… And the rest of us are criminals in those eyes… I cant even get a smile or a wave back from the police….just a dirty look!!!

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