AUSTIN (KXAN) — People living and working along a dark, busy stretch of Farm-to-Market 969 in East Austin have become too familiar with seeing car crashes involving pedestrians.
The latest incident happened Thursday when a man was struck and severely injured by a truck driver who never saw him. It happened just east of U.S. Highway 183. He died three days later from the injuries.
A 66-year-old man was killed crossing that same spot on Nov. 27.
“It’s very dangerous…very, very dangerous,” said Oscar Romelien, who was pulling into his business Thursday when he collided with the man. “Even though he was jaywalking, there was no way to see him.”
Romelien says he has petitioned the city for lights along that stretch.
“They came out and looked but I never heard back from them,” he said. “They said they would get back to me. Nothing.”
Numerous people could be seen jaywalking Friday, even though there are traffic intersections not far off in either direction. Because of the proximity of those intersections, folks living nearby have been told that another stop light will not be added.
“For the safety of kids and other pedestrians, they could have a pole there with a light that would take away the darkness and give them safe passage,” said Nina Batts, president of the Cavalier Park Neighborhood Association. “Traffic would stop.”
“Light it up,” Romelien said. “Help us. Someone needs to pay attention to this strip. Help us. Light it up.”
In the last five years, 1,800 people were hurt and 96 people were killed in crashes involving vehicles and people walking, Austin Police said. They are also working to crack down on jaywalking in the city, and are patrolling areas like West Campus.