Metro police continue to investigate fatal hit and run

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police are reminding pedestrians and drivers to watch out for each other after multiple fatal pedestrian involved wrecks in September.

Keith Doehring has no choice but to walk just about everywhere he goes.

“The Contributor” newspaper salesman has occupied the intersection of Murfreesboro Pike and Hamilton Church Road for the past several years.

One morning on his way to his spot to sell newspapers, a driver hit him as he walked along Murfreesboro Pike.

“A car came behind me and hit me,” he said. “ It shattered my shoulder. I was in the hospital about 55 days.”

He said about that stretch of Murfreesboro Road, “It is very unfriendly to pedestrians.”

Not far from where Doehring sells his papers, a 37-year old man died after a car struck him. The driver of the car did not stop. Later police found the abandoned car, but have not charged the driver yet.

“To this day I am still very leery,” Doehring said. “The roads have a bike lane now but people use that as a travel lane.”

Metro Police urge pedestrians and bicyclist to “Be Seen, Be Aware, Arrive Alive.”

That includes walking on sidewalks whenever they are available, trying to make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you, and avoiding alcohol and drugs when walking.

In 2015, 18 pedestrians died in fatal crashes with vehicles. In 14 of those crashes, alcohol and/or drug impairment on the part of the pedestrian was a contributing factor. In 13 of the deaths, a contributing factor was that the pedestrian was in the roadway outside of a crosswalk.

Pedestrians told News 2 there are not always crosswalks to walk in or sidewalks to walk on in their neighborhoods.

Chrion Leonard walks a half of a mile from his home to an MTA bus stop several times a week to catch a bus to get to work.

“I cut through the parking lot of the apartments until I get to the street,” he said. “I don’t like walking on the street because cars come up and down the hill so fast we need sidewalks through there.”

He continued, “Something needs to be done about that.”
Adrienne Bruce owns a car, but decided to walk more in her neighborhood in an effort to improve her health.

“When the cars are behind me I am nervous they are not going to see me so I try to walk facing the cars where they can see me,” she said. “I have had incidents where I had to jump on to the grass because a car was trying to come around another car. It is very unsafe to walk in this area.”

Pedestrians expressed frustration with seeing more bike lanes added to roadways, but not crosswalks nor sidewalks.

“They have an area for bikes but they don’t have an area for walking and that makes me very uneasy,” Bruce said.

Mayor Megan Barry’s office referred News 2 to Metro Public Works Department

Public Works told News 2 that pedestrian improvement projects are prioritized based on the current Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways.

The plan was last updated in 2008. The completed update should be complete in December 2016.

Public Works also consults regularly with Nashville Public Schools, Metro Transit Authority and other Metro departments as well as council members for feedback and their input on their constituents’ needs and requests on pedestrian enhancement projects, according to Metro Public Works Spokeswoman Jenna Smith.

According to Smith, there are almost 100 projects in either planning, design or construction phase distributed among all 35 council districts in Metro Nashville.

The Public Works Traffic Engineering Division reviews all pedestrian crash reports from Metro Police.
The division investigates the needs for the installation of crosswalks, lighting and other facility improvements.

Metro citizens can also report a project need by contacting their council member or the Public Works Department.