Area residents say dangerous section of Lemay Ferry contributed to man’s death

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Sevkija Ferhatovic, 64, of south St. Louis County, was killed while trying to cross Lemay Ferry Road at Victory Drive in his wheelchair around 6:15pm Monday.

It’s the same dangerous stretch of road residents warned a state highway official about in a Fox2/News11 report nearly 4 years ago. There have been no safety improvements since our report.

Narrow sidewalks go right up to the roadway and have utility poles in the middle of them for close to a mile along Lemay Ferry. It’s hard enough to navigate the sidewalks on foot, let alone in a wheelchair.

Ferhatovic’s fellow residents at a nearby independent living center are heartbroken.

Tony Berding, who also uses a wheelchair, told Fox2/News11 he warned Ferhatovic not to go.  Berding was in tears on Tuesday. In December of 2015, Berding told us he’d been hit by cars and injured on the same stretch, three times.

Residents like to go to the QT and other nearby stores on their own. Berding quit doing so. It’s too dangerous, he said.

“It happened (again) last night and nothing changed.  That’s not right.  We are human beings,” said Berding.  “I want something to be done before it happens again. I don’t want to lose nobody else.”

Linda Hinkle, who also uses a wheelchair, won’t chance it anymore either. She waits for Call-A-Ride now.  It is far less convenient, but convenience is just too risky.

“It could have been anybody (last night),” she said.  “It could have been my husband.  It could have been me.  It’s very devastating to lose a person you live with.  We need more support for the disabled community out here.”

Residents have signed petitions and pleaded with MoDOT for safety improvements for years. Their new State Rep., Jim Murphy, told Fox2/News11 that MoDOT has a $7 million plan that would address both sidewalk and roadway issues, but not until 2027. That wasn’t good enough, he said.

A MoDOT spokeswoman told Fox2/News11 the agency was awaiting a police report from Monday night’s accident and would then evaluate the area to see if there was a way to speed up safety improvements.

The 32-year-old driver who hit Ferhatovic was cooperating with investigators, police said.

No citations or charges were issued as of Tuesday.

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