ATLANTA - For the fourth time in less than a week, a pedestrian has been hit on a metro Area interstate and now the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is speaking out about the dangers of walking on an interstate highway.
Late Wednesday night, a man was struck and killed on Interstate 20 near the Joseph Lowery exit. Police said the man was trying to cross the highway on foot. According to witnesses, he made it across the eastbound lanes, hopped the median wall, and was struck by an SUV going west. The SUV driver stopped and isn't expected to be charged. Police did not immediately identify the man who died.
Another pedestrian was killed less than six hours earlier, also on I-20. This accident happened in the westbound lanes near the Interstate 285 north ramp in DeKalb County. Police said that man was hit by a van a little before 6:30 p.m. The man was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was later pronounced dead. That driver also stopped and likely won't be charged.
The day before, Tuesday, a woman was struck by three vehicles just after 8:30 p.m. in the southbound lanes of traffic just north of the University Avenue exit along Interstates 75 and 85. Only one of the vehicles stopped. Police are looking for the hit and run drivers. At last check, the woman was in grave condition at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Last Friday a Georgia Tech student was killed after being struck by a vehicle on Interstate 85 where southbound meets northbound Interstate 75. Kaden Campbell, a first-year undergraduate at Georgia Tech and pledge of the university's Sigma Nu fraternity, was declared dead at the scene. The driver who hit Campbell stopped at the scene.
The Governor's Office of Highway Safety said when it comes to pedestrian fatalities, annually statewide, the numbers are about the same as last year.
"We're only 12 away from the number of all of last year, we're 19 away from the same day last year," said Harris Blackwood, Director of GOHS.
The total number of statewide pedestrian fatalities is 225. Blackwood said to have four people hit in less than a week is not common and to have even on person die is too many.
"These are not numbers for the sake of numbers, these are people whose lives came to an end because of some decision they made," said Blackwood.
The majority of drivers do not intend on hitting pedestrians while on the interstate. In this week’s collisions, there were instances where drivers kept going.
"It is just absolutely unbelievable that someone would leave the scene of someone who was critically injured or killed," said Blackwood.
Blackwood said drivers involved in accidents involving pedestrians must pull over and call for help.
Andre Todd knows what it is like to walk the interstates. He does it for a living working for the Georgia Department of Transportation’s H.E.R.O. team. Todd said too many people in his unit put themselves in danger on a daily basis.
"Special people are called to do this job and we are out here trying to protect the motoring public," said Todd.
Each H.E.R.O. has a regular patrol to help people who are stranded on the interstates. They are the ones who respond to the 511 calls.
As for people who run across the interstate, Todd has some simple advice: Don’t do it!
"Cars moving and traveling at anywhere from 70 80 mph that's hard for you to judge how fast they're moving so once you get out there it's too late to go back," said Todd.
Atlanta Police remind everyone to stay off the interstates unless you are in a legally approved vehicle. Never try to cross the highway on foot. If your car breaks down, police suggest calling 911, 511, or a tow truck. And don't try to walk to the nearest exit.