Pedestrian killed in deputy-involved crash in Largo
A pedestrian was killed early Monday morning in a deputy-involved crash in Largo, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities said the crash happened in the 12800 block of 66th St N. just South of Ulmerton Rd. a few minutes before 5 a.m.
Detectives said 29-year-old Deputy William Morgan struck a pedestrian as the man crossed 66th Street from west to east. Authorities said he was not in a crosswalk.
The deputy hit the man with the front passenger side of his marked PCSO cruiser and immediately stopped to render aid, but the pedestrian later died from his injuries. Authorities said the man's identity will be released after the next-of-kin is notified.
From the front office of SK Stones on 66th Street North, Yanira Soto said she sees crashes and risky behavior nearly every day.
“I see it often where people cross where they are not supposed to,” she explained.
ABC Action News spoke with people who live and commute in the area of 66th Street N near Ulmerton Road and they say there are two main problems: It’s extremely dark at night and in the early mornings and the intersections with crosswalks are a long distance apart on 66th Street N.
Whit Blanton, of Forward Pinellas, says that’s an issue across Tampa Bay.
“We would like people to cross at the crosswalk and go to the intersection where it’s protected by a signal, but if that’s 1,200 or 1,500 feet or 2,000 feet out of direction from where you want to go, people aren’t going to do that,” Blanton added explaining that sometimes people make risky decisions and cannot judge how quickly oncoming cars are coming especially at night.
Blanton’s agency has been pushing to install more mid-block crosswalks along streets with a long distance between intersections. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered such as the impact on traffic, safety needs and if the location is feasible for a crosswalk that either blinks yellow or turns red when a pedestrian wants to cross.
Lighting is another major factor and Blanton says FDOT plans to add more lighting to corridors across Tampa Bay starting next year.
Blanton says transportation leaders need to get creative as more apartments sprout up on major roadways, bringing more pedestrians to high-speed corridors.
The corridor on 66th Street recently added the large-scale Charleston Elegant Apartments Development.
“We’re on pace to set some unfortunate new record in Pinellas County with traffic fatalities—car vs car, car vs pedestrian, car vs bicyclist, they’re all up,” Blanton said.