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City closes crosswalk after second teen hit by vehicle

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published January 8, 2019

 The city of Berkley shut down the crosswalk at Coolidge Highway and Dorothea Road last month after another person was hit by a vehicle at the intersection.

The city of Berkley shut down the crosswalk at Coolidge Highway and Dorothea Road last month after another person was hit by a vehicle at the intersection.

Photo by Mike Koury

BERKLEY — A 15-year-old boy was taken to the hospital last month after being hit by a vehicle in the crosswalk at the same intersection where a 14-year-old girl was hit by a vehicle at the end of October. The crosswalk is now closed.

The most recent vehicle-pedestrian accident occurred at approximately 6:12 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the intersection of Coolidge Highway and Dorothea Road.

Berkley Public Safety Detective Sgt. Dave Arney said that police arrived at the scene to find the teen lying on the ground, conscious and breathing.

Arney said the teen, a resident of Berkley, had been riding his skateboard from the east side to the west side when the accident happened.

“According to witnesses, he was on the crosswalk,” Arney said. “It’s just unknown if the lights were activated. He was on the crosswalk. He was where he was supposed to be. Whether or not the lights, those flashing lights, were activated prior to him crossing, that’s not known. There’s no cameras in that area that would show the crosswalk where the accident occurred.”

As to what the driver, a 31-year-old Berkley man, told police, Arney said the man said he “just didn’t see” the teen.

“There’s no evidence of him speeding. He wasn’t under the influence of any intoxicants. He just did not see him,” he said.

Arney said the teen was taken to Beaumont Hospital and that, as far as the investigation goes, it’s still open and they’re waiting on medical records.

“No tickets were issued or anything to the driver right now,” he said. “We’re waiting on medical records before any decision’s made going forward as far as a ticket or any charges to the driver.”

The first accident at the crosswalk involved a 16-year-old Berkley driver hitting a 14-year-old Ferndale girl during a lunch break at Berkley High School at 12:48 p.m. Oct. 29.

There previously were crosswalk barriers at Dorothea and Coolidge, but they were removed after the December accident. The barriers looked like several rods sticking out of the ground. A pedestrian crossing sign in the middle of Coolidge was removed, and pedestrian traffic signals were inactivated.

“We are looking at ways to make the crossing safer,” Public Safety Director Matt Koehn said in an email.

Mayor Dan Terbrack said the city had gotten feedback prior to the second incident from nearby business owners and others who said that they had close calls at the crosswalk too. After the second person was hit at the crossing, the decision was made with the Public Safety Department to remove the barriers and close the crosswalk for now.

“They just weren’t safe,” Terbrack said. “I mean, one person hurt is too much. Two people hurt is way too much, and we decided after that, until substantive changes potentially could be made to make them safer, especially as it relates to signaling, we’re just not going to risk anybody else getting hit there.”

Terbrack said that because of where the signals were located when they were installed, if two vehicles were traveling northbound on Coolidge and one stopped, it was hard for pedestrians to see the second vehicle still driving, and likewise for the driver to see the pedestrians.

“There were just too many close encounters,” he said. “The whole point of it was to make it safer for folks to cross. When that turned out that wasn’t happening, I spoke with a couple lieutenants in public safety and we just decided, no, we do not want anybody else hit there.”