- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 11, 2007

A fourth pedestrian within eight days was killed on a D.C. street over the weekend, resulting in a call for more police patrols in busy nighttime areas.

The death marked the fifth pedestrian fatality in the District this year. There were 17 such accidents last year.

Metropolitan Police yesterday had not identified the latest victim, who was crossing the 1100 block of New York Avenue Northeast at 7:37 p.m. Police said he was struck by a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor driven by a 45-year-old Maryland man.

The victim appeared to be Hispanic and was pronounced dead about three hours later at Washington Hospital Center.

“He was under the influence of alcohol,” police spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile said. “He was outside the crosswalk, crossing in the middle of the block.”

No charges were filed against the driver of the Endeavor.

Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, said the area where the man was struck is close to several clubs that draw large weekend crowds.

“It does not surprise me, given the amount of nightclub activity in the area,” he said. “Police need to step up patrols in those areas at night.”

The accident follows the death of 6-year-old J’lin Tyler, a Bunker Hill Elementary School student who was killed Friday morning at the intersection of Sargent Road and Emerson Street in Northeast.

Police said J’lin was walking with an adult and six or seven other children to a school bus stop when he darted away from the group into the street and was struck by a Jeep Cherokee.

The driver of the vehicle, a 54-year-old Takoma Park woman, was not charged in that case.

Two days earlier, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, an unidentified man that police think was homeless voluntarily went to the entrance of the Third Street Tunnel to help direct the driver of a tractor-trailer that was too tall to enter the tunnel. As the man motioned to the driver to put the truck in reverse, he moved into the path of a cement truck and was hit and killed.

On Feb. 3, Gary Scott Phillips, 58, of the 200 block of Gallatin Street Northwest, was walking across the 5000 block of New Hampshire Avenue Northwest when he was struck by a man on a bicycle and later died.

The first pedestrian victim of the year was Carla Gonzalez, 24, of the 1400 block of Spring Road Northwest. At about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 16, Miss Gonzalez ran in front of a Metrobus traveling north on 16th Street Northwest as it was preparing to make a left turn on Park Road.

Police last week were not able to provide statistics on pedestrian fatalities, but Mr. Lynch said that his unofficial count indicates that 17 pedestrians were killed in 2006, 16 were killed in 2005, and 10 were killed in 2004.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said Friday that pedestrian safety is a “top priority.” He said that his administration is working on the city’s first-ever Pedestrian Master Plan, which would identify need for improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian countdown signals and refuge islands. The plan is expected to be completed in the fall.

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