Pedestrian deaths up in St. Louis city

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – “Hit and run” and “pedestrian struck” are phrases we’ve been hearing too often lately in St. Louis.  As it turns out, statistics show these incidents have been happening quite often.

On Sunday night, 64 year-old Jerrel Nixon, known as "the Rose Man", was crossing Natural Bridge Road, when he was hit by a vehicle that was speeding and ran a red light. He never made it home.

“His not being seen is just, I can’t add it up in my head,” says his niece, Lesia Nixon.

Less than 2 weeks earlier, it was a similar scenario in north St. Louis County.  Sixteen-year-old Deandre Wallace was crossing Chambers at Green Valley Drive when a vehicle hit him, killing him on impact.

Also in this case, the driver may have run a red light, may have been speeding, and fled the scene.

St. Louis Fire Department Spokesman Garon Mosby says within the past 7 days, 16 people were hit by a car in the city of St. Louis.  He adds, “Does that seem high? It absolutely seems high to me, to have 16 people struck by vehicles that we responded to.”

These numbers are higher, especially when compared to last year’s.  St. Louis police say their accident reconstruction team has responded to 11 fatal “pedestrian struck” incidents so far in 2015.  This compares to 5 “pedestrian struck” fatalities in all of 2014.

It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific cause of this increase, but Mosby believes distracted driving may play a role.  It’s also a shared responsibility, and up to pedestrians to be careful while wearing headphones, and to remember that they don’t always have the right of way.

Mosby explains, “When you’re not in a business district, or there aren’t two traffic lights or two blocks that are close together, you’re permitted to cross in the middle of the block.  But oncoming traffic has the right of way, so the pedestrian would have to yield.”

Nixon adds, “Between the distractions and the not caring, it’s happening a lot and it’s ridiculous.”