Missoula Works To Prevent Vehicle, Pedestrian Accidents - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Missoula Works To Prevent Vehicle, Pedestrian Accidents

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Wednesday night, the third pedestrian-versus-vehicle accident happened within the last two months.

It's the second time a person who was walking on a sidewalk was killed.

Callie Hanson had been living with the Demmerts for the last few weeks, when her friend Claire Demmert got a call that would change her life.

"I felt really upset, and I felt really bad for her kids," Hanson said.

The call informed Claire, her mother, Roberta Demmert, the woman Hanson said acted like a mother to her the last few weeks had died. Police said Demmert was hit by a drunk driver while walking on the side walk.

"She was really nice," Hanson said. "She was really funny, and she was a really good mom."

Hanson said Wednesday's accident makes her afraid to walk the streets of Missoula.

"It makes me unsafe," Hanson said. "They were walking on the side walk, and got hit by a car."

Now, after two other pedestrian-related accidents in the last few months, law enforcement and the city are taking measures to prevent not just pedestrian related accidents, but all crashes in Missoula.

"If we can come up with ways to change peoples' behavior, so those things don't happen, we can hopefully reduce crashes," said City of Missoula Transportation Planner, Dave Prescott.

Missoula police and Montana Highway Patrol both said they are continuing to focus on their DUI and distracted driving patrols.

'"I don't think we could have prevented last nights accident, or the one out on Mullan Road, even if they knew what was going on around them," said Missoula Police Sgt Chris Odlin.

City officials said traffic crashes in the Missoula-area cause eight fatalities, and more than 650 injuries every year.

"We certainly have seen more pedestrian accidents in last month, more so then we have had in past," Odlin said.

MHP statistics show crashes involving pedestrians have increased by 300 percent in the last year.

The city is planning a Transportation Safety Summit. They invite the public to join the conversation and share ideas for improvement.

"The purpose is to give people a better awareness of what kind of things cause crashes," Odlin said.

The course will focus on areas city officials said correlate the most with fatal accidents, drunk driving, driving through intersections, teen driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

Still, friends of Roberta Demmert said nothing can bring her back.

The Summit is being held next Thursday night from six to nine at Saint Paul Lutheran Church.

 

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