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Residents call for solutions following pedestrian fatal crashes in Lafayette

traffic on Carmel Drive.PNG
Posted at 6:55 AM, Jan 19, 2022

Crossing the Evangeline Thruway can be a dangerous task because of the high volume of traffic.

But every day, residents who live along the roadway make that crossing with the risk of being struck and possibly killed by a vehicle.

Nureaka Ross lives on Lafayette's Northside. She said something needs to be done to keep people from dying while walking along Lafayette's roads.

"When you go home tonight people need to remember these kids have no mother, these son's have no father people need to remember these are lives," she said.

In the first pedestrian fatality of the year, 30-year-old Raven Charles of Opelousas was struck and killed while attempting to cross the Evangeline Thruway on January 2. One person was arrested in that hit and run incident.

Lafayette Police spokesperson Sergeant Robin Green said the department is doing everything it can to alleviate the issue. She says some areas are difficult to do so.

"It's kind of hard, especially with the Evangeline Thruway because it is a major roadway. And we do offer crosswalks at the light of those sections," said Green. "I suggest that using a crosswalk is the safest alternative. Try to not wear dark clothing at night when attempting to cross the road. And never assume that the motorist sees you."

And the Thruway isn't the only road to have seen a pedestrian fatal crash this year.

Carmel Drive was the scene of a crash that claimed the life of 30-year-old Shantel Simpson of Lafayette. She was struck twice by vehicles while walking in the northbound lane of the roadway on January 7.

Councilman A B Rubin of District 5 said he is calling for sidewalks to be added along Carmel Drive. The addition of sidewalks, he said, will protect people in the area who may be disabled or lack transportation.

"You have people with prosthetic parts, people in wheelchairs, all of these people are trying to navigate up and down Carmel Avenue," he said. "And it's very dangerous because it's five lanes."

Rubin said the project will take persistence to get done.

"People like me constantly get in people's ear, it takes people like you, people that are listening right now by calling people that represent them. And telling them 'hey, we need a sidewalk.' Putting the pressure on the powers that be," he said.

In the third reported pedestrian fatal crash this month, 57-year-old Donald Jackson of Scott was struck by a vehicle January 17 on Ambassador Caffery. Lafayette Police said Jackson was heading northbound on Ambassador Caffery, when he was struck by a vehicle also traveling northbound. The vehicle did not stop.

An investigation is ongoing in that incident.

Rubin said he would like to break ground this year on adding sidewalks on Carmel Drive from Louisiana Avenue to Pinhook Road.

Any addition of sidewalks would be up to the council and DOTD.

For Ross, she hopes that the drivers responsible for the recent hit and run crashes turn themselves in.

"To all those drivers out here that struck a pedestrian, a human, and kept going and didn't stop, you need to look in the mirror and turn yourself in," she said.

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