Friday, June 13, 2014
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.”