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Pedestrian ticketed after being struck by car in Darien

Darien Police and the fire department responded to the car vs. pedestrian accident on Thursday, Jan. 10. The pedestrian was later given a ticket for jaywalking. (David DesRoches photo)

After being hit by a car, a Norwalk man was ticketed by Darien Police for jaywalking. While walking through the rotary toward Goodwives Shopping Center on Sedgwick Avenue, Joseph Wilson, 24, was struck by a white Subaru. The driver of the Subaru was not ticketed, police said, but Wilson was given a ticket for failure to yield to a vehicle while crossing in a non-crosswalk.

Wilson was taken by Darien EMS-Post 53 to Norwalk Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The Subaru had been traveling east on Sedgwick Avenue, and appeared to have hit Wilson at the rotary on Thursday afternoon, Jan. 10. A black bag was seen on the ground in front of the car.

Five police cars, one fire truck, one ambulance, and one EMS vehicle responded to the scene. In September, a pedestrian was hit one block from Sedgwick Avenue on the Post Road across from the Darien Fire Department. That pedestrian was crossing at a crosswalk.

In Connecticut, pedestrians who violate crosswalk laws, or jaywalk, face a fine of up to $50. If a pedestrian is not in marked crosswalk, than that person is supposed to yield to oncoming traffic, according to Connecticut statute. Drivers who violate crosswalk law face fines up to $90.

A pedestrian generally has the right of way over all vehicles while crossing the street at a crosswalk, except for emergency vehicles with flashing lights. This means that cars and other traffic, including bicycles, must slow down or stop in front of a crosswalk for the pedestrian. Vehicles must remain stopped until the pedestrian has fully crossed the street or has reached a “zone of safety,” a term not defined in the statute.

“Pedestrians face some restrictions regardless of what type of crosswalk they enter,” writes Laura Johnson, a research attorney who wrote a primer on crosswalk law for the state’s General Assembly in 1997.

A pedestrian must also stay within the boundaries of a crosswalk and should not cross an intersection diagonally. Whenever possible, a pedestrian must stay on the right hand side of a crosswalk. Walkers are also supposed to abide by “don’t walk” signals, and may not begin to cross the street if the “don’t walk” signal is either blinking or solid, according to the statute. If the signal changes from “walk” to “don’t walk” while crossing the street, the pedestrian can continue to cross the street to reach the other side or a traffic island, such as a sidewalk divider.

Darien Police did not immediately respond to a request for information on how many jaywalking tickets the department issues.

The last pedestrian death happened in 2007 when a Middlesex Middle School teacher’s car struck 86-year-old Pasquale Ierardi on West Avenue, at a location near his home where he frequently walked, police said at the time.

In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 70,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in traffic crashes. This is a 4% increase over 2009.

Nearly four-fifths, or 79%, of pedestrian deaths happened at non-intersections versus intersections, the administration reported, and 88% of pedestrian fatalities occurred during normal weather conditions. Males are generally more susceptible to being hit by a car, and more than two-thirds of the pedestrian fatalities in 2010 were male. People 65 and older and children age 5 to 9 are the most likely to be hit by a car, according to administration.

ddesroches@darientimes.com

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