The death of 28 year old Rhonda Williamson makes the 17th pedestrian fatality in Charlotte this year. She was hit Saturday by 21 year-old Ilse Joanna Perez and died Wednesday. Perez was charged with involuntary manslaughter, hit and run, and driving while intoxicated.
Police say jaywalking was one of the most frequent factors in wrecks involving pedestrians, along with a lack of sidewalks and distracted motorists.
Crashed involving pedestrians have increased over the past few years. In 2005, 454 pedestrians were hit my vehicles, 70 less times than 2011's 522 accidents. The states leader in pedestrian casualties, Mecklenburg County, saw 24 pedestrian deaths in 2011, a record for the county. If trends continue, we will surpass that record this year.
Mecklenburg saw over 3,500 wrecks involving pedestrians from 2005 - 2011. Of those, 130 were killed and 41 were reported by the Mint Hill Police Department.
City Council currently allocated $7.5 million each year in sidewalk projects. Charlotte currently has 8 programs established for sidewalk projects. An investigation is conducted after every wreck by the city to look for ways to improve safety at any given location.
A spokeswoman for the Charlotte Department of Transportation encouraged citizens to let the city know where safety improvements need to be made. By filing a petition with the CDOT, citizens can make a request for any kind up safety improvement.