LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every two hours there’s a crash-related pedestrian death in this country.
While statistics vary from area to area, it seems there are often pedestrian deaths or injuries in this area. We found one area that seems to be a hot spot for near misses, and some have been hit.
If you watch at the corner of Baker and Lake Streets, it seems pedestrians who live in the neighborhood on the east side often take their life into their hands crossing to get to the west side to go to the bus stop, or Dollar General, or some other place, and then to come home.
It's frightening to watch some of the older people who say they wait and wait because they can't run. Others have small children.
Joslyn Reese says she sometimes waits 30 to 40 minutes to cross.
“It’s a real bad area because there’s no cross walk," Reese said. "You know, whenever you get ready to cross the street, there’s no button to push. Even if ladies coming, they have babies in the buggy. It’s hard to cross the street here.
Reese remembers when two girls were hit at night.
“I think it was her leg and I think she was bleeding from the ear and another little girl, when she fell, it was the back of her head was busted open,” Reese said.
Sgt. Jeff Keenum with Lake Charles Police says pedestrians need to use extreme care, especially at night.
“I was driving down Lake Street one night at about 10 p.m. and fortunately, I was paying attention. And there were two people standing in the middle of Lake Street just standing in the middle of the lane and I had to slam on my brakes,” said Keenum.
Recently a man was struck and killed crossing the interstate, which Keenum says is illegal.
“It is against the law unless it’s an emergency to be up on the interstate,” Keenum said.
That case is a hit-and-run. Keenum says not stopping to render aid is a serious offense.
“We’re going to be looking for you," Keenum said. “I can’t imagine being involved in an accident, striking someone, and then not stopping. Because we’re going to continue to look for you and you may have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life. And is it worth it? Just stop, render aid of you’re able to, call 911, get an ambulance out there.”
And if you don’t, nowadays, there’s a good chance you’ve been caught on someone’s surveillance camera.
Meanwhile, Reese hopes it can be made safer to cross here.
“This corner is not a safe corner. It’s not safe at all right here. It’s real bad,” Reese said.
For more information on avoiding pedestrian vehicle accidents and potential consequences of hit-and-runs, check out the links in this story.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides statistics state-by-state and for each parish or county.
The penalties for hit and run in Louisiana vary depending on whether there are injuries or loss of life.
Keenum provided us with the following statistics from Lake Charles Police:
•In 2016, we show 3 auto-pedestrian fatalities. 1 of those was a hit-and-run.
•In 2017, we show 0 auto-pedestrian fatalities. Naturally, 0 hit-and-runs with same criteria.
•In 2018, we show 4 auto pedestrian fatalities. 1 of those was a hit-and-run.
The Calcasieu Sheriff’s Department provided numbers on hit-and-run crashes, but they are not broken down by vehicle, pedestrian, or bicycle.
Hit and Runs worked by CPSO:
•2016 – 241
•2017 – 290
•2018 – 228 (through 3 quarters)