Traffic injuries prompt Walla Walla police crackdown


WALLA WALLA — City officials have ordered Walla Walla police to take a “zero tolerance” approach to traffic enforcement in the wake of two vehicle-pedestrian crashes this week, one of which killed a German tourist downtown.

The enforcement campaign will continue through the summer and will include a crackdown on motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists who break laws, police spokesman Officer Tim Bennett said in a news release this morning.

Monday afternoon, Dr. Horst-Peter Rother, 70, died after being struck by a pickup while walking across Main Street at Palouse Street. A second car-pedestrian accident Tuesday injured Mary Morris, 68, as she was walking along Whitman Street near Sturm Avenue.

Morris remains hospitalized in satisfactory condition, Bennett said. Continuing investigations into both cases have so far shown no indication the pedestrians were doing anything that could have been a contributing factor.

Bennett said that since the start of 2013, Walla Walla Police have investigated 31 collisions involving injuries to 15 bicyclists and 16 pedestrians. In eight of the collisions involving bicycles, the riders were committing some type of violation or riding in an unsafe manner.

In two of the collisions involving pedestrians, one involved a person trying to cross a street at night in the middle of the block and the other involved a person who ran into the side of a moving vehicle.

Pedestrians need to remember that jaywalking is a violation and police will cite offenders in the downtown area, Bennet said in the release. And bicyclists must also remember they are required to obey the same “rules of the road” that apply to automobiles.

“Motorists should remain focused on driving and not be distracted by their cellphones or other items in their vehicles,” Bennett said. “Pedestrians need to remain vigilant of traffic around them and not to assume vehicles will see and yield to them.”



kurtfr says...

It would be interesting to see a more detailed breakdown. There are 31 incidents, out of those, how many citations were issued and to whom? 10 incidents are listed that show violations or fault for the cyclists and pedestrians, were any citations given? For the other 21 incidents, what were the outcomes?

Posted 13 June 2014, 11:30 a.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

How many distracted driving citations have been issued?

Posted 13 June 2014, 12:58 p.m. Suggest removal

dogman12 says...

You can't drive around town for an hour without seeing dozens of texters. I sure hope the PD can sustain an effort to cite distracted drivers. This dangerous driving behavior will take a long time to stamp out, so stick with it, PD, and judges: SLAP 'em!

Posted 14 June 2014, 5:10 a.m. Suggest removal

janrocks says...

Does anyone know the "rule" for pedestrians in the crosswalk, crossing against the light? Are you always required to stop, even if you have the green light once they are in the crosswalk?

Posted 13 June 2014, 4:50 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

I'm not going to answer that because I jaywalk constantly. It is far safer than intersections where traffic is coming from every direction.

Posted 13 June 2014, 9:10 p.m. Suggest removal

oldguyonabike says...

But I will stop if WWPD enforces road rules evenly.

Posted 13 June 2014, 9:12 p.m. Suggest removal

janrocks says...

you are the type of person that is going to cause us all to have a chip implanted to make us

Posted 4 August 2014, 4:50 p.m. Suggest removal

GeneandCassie says...

Probably better to invest a minute of time, stop and let them cross and move on.....

Dealing with the alternative might take a lot more time and $$$ to sort out.....

Posted 14 June 2014, 6:26 a.m. Suggest removal

janrocks says...

you are so right! but just curious about the rule
curious again this weekend as groups of Peach Basket wander in front of my oncoming car not even in the crosswalk...pushing strollers, toddlers loose... so selfish of me to worry about my own feelings of fear and potential guilt from crushing a child while their parent talks on the cell phone...

Posted 4 August 2014, 4:48 p.m. Suggest removal

scooterwa2 says...

“Pedestrians need to remain vigilant of traffic around them and not to assume vehicles will see and yield to them.” Okay, I understand what this statement conveys, but the problem is that most drivers fail to yield to pedestrians. They assume that if they can see the crosswalk empty from 500 yards away, then they were "there first" and shouldn't have to yield.
Walla Walla Police: if you would really like to "crack down" on motorists falling to yield to pedestrians, I would like gladly volunteer my services at any number of crosswalks in town where I have been nearly flattened in the middle of the crosswalk. We could set up a very successful sting operation and you could issue dozens of citations.
Yes, I agree that pedestrians downtown fail to observe lights. But around town at open crosswalks, very few drivers yield the right-of-way.

Posted 14 June 2014, 8:23 a.m. Suggest removal

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