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13th pedestrian killed this year; police consider ticketing jaywalkers

Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012 8:43 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012 1:34 AM
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Another pedestrian – the 13th this year – died Tuesday night after being hit by a car, this time on Washington Road near Boy Scout Road, authorities said.

Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald examines the body of Rapha Felts, of North Carolina, who was struck and killed as he attempted to cross Washington Road near Interstate 20 on Tuesday night.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Richmond County Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald examines the body of Rapha Felts, of North Carolina, who was struck and killed as he attempted to cross Washington Road near Interstate 20 on Tuesday night.


Rapha Felts, 47, of North Carolina, was at Crazy Turks Pizza at 2910 Wash­ington Road. His friends told authorities they were paying the bill when Felts left, Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Whitehead said.

The group was staying at the West Bank Hotel next door, and his friends said they did not know why Felts left and tried to cross the busy six-lane road.

Before he was very far off the sidewalk, Felts was struck by a 1989 Chevrolet pickup driven by Michael Fisk, 43, of Martinez. Fisk had tried to avoid Felts, Whitehead said, leaving skid marks in the eastbound lane that were documented by the sheriff’s office’s Serious Traffic Accident Res­ponse team. Fisk was not injured and will not be charged, police said.

The accident, which happened about 8:30 p.m., closed all eastbound lanes of Washington Road for a few hours.

This year’s death toll among pedestrians is the highest in a decade in Richmond County. Even before Tues­day’s accident, the sheriff’s office had begun considering ticketing jaywalkers in an effort to reduce these deaths.

This year’s total is up from eight in 2011 and one in 2009.

On Monday, Kyron J. Doleman, 5, died trying to cross Peach Orchard Road. His 13-year-old sister, Tyrah Dole­man, was also hit and was in good condition Tuesday at Medical College of Geor­gia Hospital, a spokeswoman said.

A lack of pedestrian responsibility is a big part of the number of fatalities, said Lt. Randy Prickett, the supervisor of the traffic division for the sheriff’s office.

“People don’t want to walk to the crosswalk or wait for the green light,” Prickett said. “Some are just not paying attention.”

The sheriff’s office is thinking about targeting pedestrians who are not following traffic laws. On multilane streets and roads, where cars can get up to 50 or 60 mph, police would start stopping jaywalkers.

“We don’t want to get that petty,” Prickett said. “But if it saves one life, it’s worth it.”

The traffic division would need every road patrol deputy to be on board, including beat cars, to enforce it, but officials at the top are considering that direction, he said.

At the beginning, Prickett said, authorities would just talk to jaywalkers and try to avoid giving out tickets. With repeat offenders, they hope a few tickets would serve as a warning to others.

Traffic fatalities overall are also up for the third year in a row. They increased from 19 in 2010 to 34 in 2011. With two weeks left this year, the number is already at 41.

Statewide numbers show a different trend. Fatal accidents are down for the third year in a row. Pedestrian fatalities in Georgia are up slightly, but down from 2010.

“We are going to be more proactive in the new year,” Prickett said. “We are going to stop speeders and ticket for other violations.”

He said there would be some changes starting Jan.1 on the road patrol, but the sheriff’s office was not releasing details yet.

RICHMOND COUNTY
YEARTRAFFIC FATALITIESPEDESTRIAN DEATHS
2010195
2011348
20124113

Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Office

GEORGIA
YEARTRAFFIC FATALITIESPEDESTRIAN DEATHS
20101,250168
20111,236124
20121,135129

Source: Georgia State Patrol

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bdouglas
3490
Points
bdouglas 12/18/12 - 10:43 pm
7
2

I would think that the threat

I would think that the threat of a ticket would make those attempting to jaywalk LESS cautious because they're trying to hurry up and get across before they get caught. I don't see it being much help, anyway.

noxiousfumes
405
Points
noxiousfumes 12/18/12 - 11:03 pm
3
0

Just this week, I almost hit

Just this week, I almost hit 2 pedestrians; one just walked out in the middle of a parking lot (not at a crosswalk) while he was texting. He did not even look up to see if there was any traffic coming. The other one was tonight - he was walking in the roadway (though there was a sidewalk) walking with traffic wearing dark clothes. I had to swerve suddenly in order to miss him. There seems to be a mindset among some pedestrians that they have the right of way no matter what. That is a situation where the walker loses every time. Maybe some PSA's will at least get people to thinking.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 12/19/12 - 12:15 am
12
5

Time to ban assault cars.

Time to ban assault cars.

itsanotherday1
34509
Points
itsanotherday1 12/19/12 - 12:38 am
3
2

I almost hit a guy a couple

I almost hit a guy a couple of weeks ago w/in 50 yards of where this guy was killed. Pedestrians need to understand that at night, just because they can see me doesn't mean I can see them. With oncoming traffic headlights in your eyes, you can't pick up that kind of detail.

Maybe instead of jaywalking tickets, which are totally ineffective as a preventive measure for strangers in town, they could put up light towers that illuminate that section of Washington Rd. better. At least that gives the motorist a better chance of seeing the ignoramous in the road.

Have some decency
7
Points
Have some decency 12/19/12 - 01:49 am
5
3

PLEASE

Unpublished

To the Augusta Chronicle: Have some respect for the deceased & his family & immediately remove the picture you have posted with this story. HOW DARE YOU post a graphic photo of Mr. Felts dead body laying in the road only partially covered by a sheet before it's even moved by the Coroner. This photo is so close-up I can clearly see half of his exposed body. It is absolutely morally wrong and it is absolutely devastating for Mr. Felts's family & friends to see. I beg of you...REMOVE IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

kcrobertson22
10
Points
kcrobertson22 12/19/12 - 02:59 am
4
4

Accountability

Why is it that no one ever seems to blame the drivers for being reckless and careless?

Speeding, Texting, Talking on the phone are all things that can prohibit the driver from paying attention to the "ignoramus" in the road as someone so nicely put it.

My boyfriend was one of the lucky ones that was hit on Wrightsboro Rd in 2009 and survived after a 5 month hospital stay and 17 surgeries. Watching your love one mowed down is something you never forget. Trust me.The cops never once questioned what the driver as to the reason he stopped almost 2 blocks down the road and waited 5 minutes before calling 911 because my boyfriend was jaywalking so OH WELL it was his fault. You have a responsibility operating a 3k lb vehicle to maintain safety and be aware of your surroundings just as much as the pedestrian does. He also never once said he was sorry or inquired to whether or not the victim died..which showed what kind of person he was.

I was almost hit in a parking lot a few days ago and the driver had the nerve to lay on his horn because I had the nerve to be walking to my car and he had to slow down. He must have missed the part about pedestrians having the right of way.

People are in way too much of a hurry. Slow down people. NOTHING in this world is worth the risk of hurting yourself or someone else.

I live right were this gentleman was killed and I know how people fly through that light all the time especially coming off of I-20. I was going to go somewhere this evening about this time and decided to stay home. I am so glad I didn't. I don't think I could take seeing another person laying in the road.

Bacon Grease
253
Points
Bacon Grease 12/19/12 - 06:20 am
2
2

Car ban

TParty. I second the motion, I demand a car ban!

Bacon Grease
253
Points
Bacon Grease 12/19/12 - 06:20 am
3
2

Car ban

TParty. I second the motion, I demand a car ban!

wayne2410
1239
Points
wayne2410 12/19/12 - 06:34 am
0
1

Someone needs to tell kc to

Unpublished

Someone needs to tell kc to quit whining. If you don't want your boyfriend run over teach the idiot to stay out of the road. Pedestrian stupidity is what causes this most of the time, maybe the liberals need to pursue a ban on them also.

CobaltGeorge
138487
Points
CobaltGeorge 12/19/12 - 06:46 am
4
2

"Time To Ban Assault Cars."

Perfect example of the way a Liberal mind operates.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 07:00 am
5
1

Yes maybe it is time to look at the CAUSE

Sorry for the comparison, but it matches.

Most, not like of these death have 1 thing in common .
The CAUSE was the person, not the shoes, not the vehicle.

Just the person choosing to break the law.

We can't ban walking, we can't ban the tools that make it possible Shoes and Socks.

Just like with GUNS we need to address the CAUSE.

Jay Walking is the CAUSE in many cases, not all, but most.

Think of the lives saved if the existing Jay Walking Laws were better enforced, instead of passing new knee jerk laws?

smartcitizen
13
Points
smartcitizen 12/19/12 - 07:04 am
4
2

Pedestrian Overpass????

Why does Augusta have 0 pedestrian overpass crossings? That would fix these problems, especially on Washington road in this area. Anybody seen what its like around the Masters? People could walk across without even the need for police direction .... HELLO It's a NO BRAINER. Put one at this location and put one down by the Masters / Fresh Market. Wake up it's 2012, how many people will die on this road prior to fixing the problem?

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 12/19/12 - 07:05 am
4
0

Recommended locations for a lot of Jaywalking Tickets

Apple Valley Drive and Hwy 56,
DMV & Hwy 56,
Peach Ord. Rd. between Windsor Spring and Tubman Home RD.
Washington Rd. End to end.
Wrightsboro Rd Between Highland Ave. and Bobby Jones

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 09:51 am
3
1

Right of Way

kcrobertson22 posted:

I was almost hit in a parking lot a few days ago and the driver had the nerve to lay on his horn because I had the nerve to be walking to my car and he had to slow down. He must have missed the part about pedestrians having the right of way.

Sorry, KC, but the article points out that pedestrians do not necessarily have the right of way. Pedestrians have the right of way only when legally entering a marked pedestrian crosswalk or when crossing at an intersection and correctly obeying the traffic signal, i.e. green light.

Your parking lot scenario does not fit the bill. We must be wary when walking in the same vicinity as motorized vehicles. I watch and defer to traffic when walking.

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 09:57 am
3
1

No Light Towers

itsanotherday posted:

Maybe . . . they could put up light towers that illuminate that section of Washington Rd. better.

No, No, No! Augusta is rife with too much wasted outdoor lighting. Google "light pollution" and you will see what a problem it is.

No, when one starts putting up physical responses to personal blunders, it never stops. You can put up a light tower at Crazy Turks, but next year when a pedestrian fatality occurs at Denny's, you would be obligated to put a light tower there.

I travel Washington Rd., and I must say that the area in front of Crazy Turks is lit up in a fashion that would make the guards at Reidsville proud. There is no shortage of lumens there. Instead, there is a lack of common sense.

Falconsgirl
170
Points
Falconsgirl 12/19/12 - 09:58 am
5
0

Pedestrian Right-of-way

In the great state of Georgia, Pedestrians only have the Right-of-way when using a CROSSWALK. If said crosswalk is at an intersection that has the little flashing signs that clearly have "Walk" and "Do Not Walk", the pedestrian only has the right-of-way when the sign says "Walk". If the crosswalk is NOT at an intersection; the pedestrian always has the right-of-way, but again, ONLY WHEN THE PEDESTRIAN IS USING THE CROSSWALK. If the crosswalk is not used by the pedestrian, then they are Jaywalking, which is against the law and automatically makes the pedestrian at fault in any accident which may arise with a motor vehicle. And for motorist; if pedestrians are crossing at a crosswalk where they have the right-of-way, motorist are supposed to stop until the entire crosswalk is clear of pedestrian traffic. Just so ya'll are aware.

ironpurps
84
Points
ironpurps 12/19/12 - 09:59 am
4
0

Crossing Washington Road

I drive on Washington Road daily, as many Augustans do. I am constantly amazed to how many people actually stand in the 'suicide lanes' during massive traffic. In this day of texting and other distractions, that is absolutely fool hardy. There should be more of a campaign for people to cross at the lights, avoid the center lanes.

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 10:00 am
2
0

ATM

From the story:

. . . his friends said they did not know why Felts left and tried to cross the busy six-lane road.

We can assume he was not going across Washington Rd. to buy a beer or pack of cigarettes, because there is a Circle K convenience store on the Crazy Turks side nearby.

I surmise he was crossing the road to use the ATM at the bank on the other side.

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 10:06 am
2
1

Traffic Division supervisor

Traffic Division supervisor Randy Prickett said that the sheriff’s office is thinking about targeting pedestrians who are not following traffic laws.

What's there to think about? I hate that Prickett uses the pejorative word "targeting," but what's wrong with enforcing the law? Enforcing the law was the platform that former sheriff candidate Freddie Sanders ran on and he lost the election. The winner was the "feel good" candidate, the "let's give him another chance" candidate. We'll see how this plays out.

pommom38
1496
Points
pommom38 12/19/12 - 10:29 am
1
1

Pay attention

is all it takes!
Lighting up one stretch isn't going to solve anything. The pedestrian's killed as of late, are in various areas.
As for the texting, etc. comment, IF that was the case in any of these tragic deaths, the driver would have been charged. Mute point.
Parking lots, be vigilant!! Cars are supposed to look before backing out, often they don't and you gotta dodge or get backed into. Using the crosswalk to get into store, watch out there too!! People gotta hurry and get where they're going ya know, so they won't always stop for you.
And I agree about the pic, if you can *see* the deceased, VERY poor taste and disrespectful.

itsanotherday1
34509
Points
itsanotherday1 12/19/12 - 10:31 am
1
0

Nah LL

I'm not talking about "a" light tower; I'm talking about illuminating the whole stretch between Bertram and Rhinehardts with the kind of street lights that make the road look like daylight.

TakeAHike
180
Points
TakeAHike 12/19/12 - 10:36 am
1
0

Fix the cross lights and lower the speed limits

I agree that the jaywalking here is just horrible. Worse, pedestrians assume you'll see them and slow down and stop in the middle of the road form them. They don't even hustle when they see a car coming. I'm in favor of ticketing/warning jaywalkers just for that reason. That said, I know why the pedestrian crosswalks aren't used and signals are ignored. The crosswalk signals rarely work. I swear they put in dummy buttons downtown. You push the pedestrian cross button and nothing happens. You watch the traffic lights go through several cycles without ever turning for the pedestrian. I run almost daily and I have yet to see a pedestrian signal turn because I've used the button. After 5 minutes of waiting despite light traffic, I've just had to give up, look both ways and run across. In Chicago, Madison, New York, DC, Boston and any other city I've been to you wouldn't even think of jaywalking or crossing against the light because the lights because its safer, easier and more convenient to cross at the corner with the aid of a crosswalk light. Here they're useless. The only place I've seen them work is on the Palmetto parkway Greeneway in North Augusta. Also, anywhere there are pedestrians, the speed limit shouldn't be over 35ph.

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 10:45 am
1
0

Dummy Buttons

I'm glad you mentioned the non-functioning crosswalk buttons, TakeAHike. I was walking on Washington Rd. in Martinez a couple of weeks ago and wanted to cross from the locksmith shop on the north to the barbershop on the south at Davis Rd. It was mid-day. There is a traffic light there and there are buttons for pedestrians to push to get the walk signal. While the light was steady red for me (i.e., green for Washington Rd. traffic), I firmly pushed the button. Did I get the "walk" signal for pedestrians? No. The light turned green, but the pedestrian signal never changed. Why do they bother with the buttons?

Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 10:51 am
2
0

Be Practical

TakeAHike posted:

Also, anywhere there are pedestrians, the speed limit shouldn't be over 35 mph.

Sorry, that won't work. There are pedestrians everywhere. I've seen them on U.S. 1 out near Blythe. I've seen them on Riverwatch Parkway. I've even seen them on interstate highways.

Does anyone remember this Woody Guthrie lyric:

As I was walking out on the highway,
I saw a sign – said “Private Property.”
But on the other side it didn't say nothing.
This land was made for you and me.

oneofthesane
2201
Points
oneofthesane 12/19/12 - 11:14 am
4
0
Little Lamb
40073
Points
Little Lamb 12/19/12 - 11:50 am
3
0

Time Warp

kcrobertson22 posted:

People are in way too much of a hurry. Slow down people. NOTHING in this world is worth the risk of hurting yourself or someone else.

Perhaps asking us drivers to slow down is a good thing. However, for you pedestrians, SPEED UP! Have you ever noticed how when people enter those large crosswalks they have painted at all the supermarkets around here that it's like the pedestrians entered a slow motion movie? They slowly shuffle across the way while twelve or fifteen cars sit idling, helpless but to watch the slow plodding.

rmwhitley
5077
Points
rmwhitley 12/19/12 - 12:51 pm
0
0

God bless

Unpublished

Mr. Felt's soul.

itsanotherday1
34509
Points
itsanotherday1 12/19/12 - 01:40 pm
3
0

watch the slow plodding.

I think some people do it just to thumb their nose at you. If you are considerate enough to wave me through, I'm considerate enough to take the shortest route and step it up.

kcrobertson22
10
Points
kcrobertson22 12/19/12 - 01:50 pm
2
0

I am not saying by any means

I am not saying by any means that the pedestrians are not at fault. YES my BF was at fault as well, we have never disputed that.

However a driver can be more vigilent and PAY attention rather than texting and talking on the phone. I sat at the same light where this man was killed the other evening and counted 7 cars turning left on to Center West Pkwy that were on the phone.

allhans
21921
Points
allhans 12/19/12 - 02:07 pm
2
0

I only know that I don't want

I only know that I don't want to be driving a car that takes a life, no matter who is at fault..

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