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UPDATE: Pedestrian Dies in North Avenue Accident, Another in Serious Condition

Police are on the scene.

Update 8:16 p.m.

Captain David Wayman of the Westfield Police Department has confirmed that a pedestrian who was struck in an accident on North Avenue West Wednesday evening has been pronounced dead at Overlook Hospital in Summit.

Another pedestrian also involved in the accident is in serious condition at Univeristy Hospital in Newark after being flown in for treatment via helicopter.

Wayman said police received a call about pedestrians being struck in a crosswalk on North Avenue West near Tuttle Parkway around 6:05 p.m. Wednesday.

According to Wayman, a man was crossing North Avenue West in the crosswalk. A car stopped for him but he was still struck, Wayman said. The driver of the car that struck him got out of the vehicle to see if he was alright and the driver was then struck by another car. Wayman said a third vehicle was also involved but fled the scene.

"We believe we know the identity of that person," Wayman said.

Police are taking statements from witnesses and investigating the crime scene with the Union County Traffic Bureau and the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

When asked if anything suspicious occurred, Wayman said: "We are going to investigate all avenues and make sure that everything is covered."

North Avenue West is closed between Dudley and the plaza intersection by the circle near East Broad Street at least until midnight.

Original Story

Westfield Police are investigating an accident on North Avenue at Tuttle Parkway where two pedestrians have been struck.

A man and a woman were transported by helicopter to a hospital, according to officials on the scene.

The helicopter was going to land at the Roosevelt Intermediate School but was redirected.

Additional details on which hospital the pedestrians were taken to or their condition is unknown at this time.

The intersection where this accident occurred has been the scene of other accidents in the past. The last pedestrian strike in this area was the summer of 2009 — the victim survived.

North Avenue has been blocked off near the Lord & Taylor in Westfield and traffic is being redirected down Charles Street.

Police are investigating and considering the accident a crime scene. As of 7:35 p.m., Union County has also arrived to set up lights and assist in the accident investigation.

Patch will continue to update this story as more details become available.

Nick Nacks January 26, 2012 at 11:33 AM
It probably was, but wouldn't that mean that it would be nearly impossible for someone attempting to cross the street to NOT see a car with headlights coming at him/her? I really don't think the answer is "more streetlights!" And traffic signals, do people want one at every block, really? The answer is pedestrian safety. A lot of the people I see simply crossing the road without taking precautions or even looking both ways before they step off the curb are on the phone or walking around with those ear buds plugged in, oblivious to the world around them. Jeff, I have to ask, is it the "area" that's dangerous? If anything it's tough with people trying to drive across North from Tuttle or the Tuttle Bridge (that's an easy one, make each of the side streets right turn only). I hate to have an entire area altered and lit up like a landing strip because someone didn't take care when crossing the street.
Nick Nacks January 26, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Go over by the Merrill Lynch on South Ave., they hang out in pairs behind the building (perhaps running radar on the trains?). Seriously, if they're not doing their job in WF it's time for WF residents to step up and raise some h^ll about it. Instead of scoping for inspection stickers how about cruising a little, catching the speeders that plague North Ave.?
sean aitken January 26, 2012 at 12:04 PM
I am surprised to see so many ppl blaming the pedestrians or poor lighting. A pedestrian stands no chance against a 3000 pound car, so why are you putting the onus on them when the law is clearly on their side...narrow minded. I cross the street all the time around here in the dark (i am a commuter, so I have no choice). Simple fact, distracted or not, lit or not, DRIVERS in this town do not consider that pedestrians exist. I have seen more than one try to PULL AROUND another driver who is stopping for a pedestrian or biker, blatantly blow by a mother with a baby stroller in a X-walk, or honk their horn in anger at a guy flagging them down to stop so they can finish crossing. and I have seen it happen in full view of the westfield police with no action. Want to raise revenue? Camp out at a xwalk. I am a defensive pedestrian: I assume drivers don't see me, I have a reflective strip on my bag, and I am buying a flashing reflector today to clip on my bag. Thats my choice, but driver behavior needs to change.
Alaska January 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Currect it look good on paper and the law is on the side of the pedestrian but laws are broken daily. Probably laws are being broken every second. With that being said I know at night even in a lite area u can always see the pedestrians. So as a pedestrian myself I look both ways, not everyone does. I've seen people just walk out into traffic and get mad when people don't stop. A car traveling at 25 miles an hour takes more then 10 feet to stop. Pay Attention People!
Gregory Kasko January 26, 2012 at 01:11 PM
My deepest sympathy goes out to the families effected by this tragedy. On July 26, 2005, Westfield's Consulting Engineer Gordon Meyh authored a report titled "Traffic Calming and Safety Improvements for Eight (8) Locations. The report lists North and Tuttle as one of the locations. The report goes on to state the following, "To specifically address several hot-spot locations, the Public Safety, Transportation, and Parking Committee of the governing body of Westfield formed a Citizen's Traffic Advisory Committee." "Based primarily on the magnitude of requests and prioritization by the Westfield Police Department, eight (8) locations were chosen for a detailed study." North and Tuttle was categorized as a location that involves traffic and pedestrian safetty around a school. What has the Town done to improve safety for pedestrians at this location since the report was issued in 2005? More to follow tonight, at The Fact of The Matter at www.07090.blogspot.com
Ted January 26, 2012 at 02:40 PM
This was a terrible and upsetting accident for those affected directly and for the neighborhood. What's needed at this location? Periodically recurring and aggressive, safety-based speed enforcement (enforcement also should target jaywalking commuters and other pedestrians), better signage and roadway striping, and well-designed/situated street lights. What is NOT needed is a traffic signal. Not only would this effectively "urbanize" the residential neighborhood (albeit one on a busy street), it would result in considerable queuing problems.
Ricky L. January 26, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I agee with Sean. This intersection is compounded with danger by being in a 35 mph zone with a school crossing zone. The lighting should be improved and the speed limit should be lowered to 25. The majority of motorists in this town have a complete disregard for pedestrians, whether they are careful or not. Most, if not all, of the pedestrian fatalities have occured in marked crosswalks, and many near accidents caused by cars speeding around cars that do stop for pedestrians - I've experienced that many times. If the Town wanted to raise revenue fast, a few check points at marked intersections would result in a nearly infinite number of arrests.
Erin Romano January 26, 2012 at 03:37 PM
That corner is soooooo dark at night and cars speed down that stretch. No one is going 25 mph like the sign says. As a driver we are responsible for our car and what it can do to pedestrians . And if you see a car stopped around a crosswalk don't assume that they are turning and go around them - guarantee this is what happened here. So sad.
Ricky L. January 26, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Unfortunately, the speed limit is 35 mph here, not 25. It is 25 mph only during school crossing times. It is a County road, so very difficult to get the County to aree to actually lower the speed limit, even with this fatality and others nearby. 35 mph limit probably equates to 40/45 mph traffic; 25 mph limit would probably lower that to 30/35 mph.
Sue January 26, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Several times when I've stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the person behind me, who can't see because they are too close to my truck to start with, tries to pass me on the right. Fortunately, I check my mirrors often when driving and have managed to turn my car a bit sideways stopping the fool. I dread the day that I'm not quick enough and my kids end up witnessing a murder and see the horror of a dead body.
Jeanne Ammermuller January 26, 2012 at 04:09 PM
@Sue -- I have seen that same situation, and when I stop for a pedestrian -- especially on North Ave, I try to block the whole expanse of the lane...But pedestrians also have to assume they are invisible at night...I saw a couple trying to cross their a couple of nights ago...it took them quite some time...but they were patient. It's extremely dark and extremely dangerous. It breaks my heart to hear this story. And I'm sure not just one factor was involved...
Karen January 26, 2012 at 04:28 PM
It would help drivers see the pedestrians if they would wear light-colored clothes and use a flashlight. When it's dark and they are in dark clothes it is impossible to see them. I always try to stop for pedestrians but also worry about the vehicles behind. I've seen them go around to the right when I stop for the person crossing at L&T. My prayers to the famlies; so heartbreaking.
Sue January 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
We all make the decision when driving between what's more important, a HUMAN LIFE or a text, a call, or being late for something. When conditions are not ideal, all parties should take extra care. I'm getting off the soapbox now.
Wally Westfield January 26, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Jeanne you are so right, the ped crossing at Clark St and Dudley is also very poorly lit. Several times I have come upon peds crossing at night in dark clothing and don't see them immediately
Nick Nacks January 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM
It would be just as nice if, in turn, pedestrians would pull the buds out of their ears, get off the cell phones and pay attention to where they are walking. The responsibility for safety is 50/50.
Westfield Pedestrian January 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I was once walking in a CROSSWALK in Westfield, having LOOKED both ways before entering the crosswalk, without any electronic devices, and with TWO cars stopped going each way to let me cross.... and I was hit by a car that swerved around one of the cars that stopped for me. Thankfully they had to slow down to swerve between the cars... In this instance, I don't think it's fair to jump to conclusions about whether the pedestrian or driver was at fault, or whether they were texting/paying attention or simply couldn't see the person without more information.
Enough already January 26, 2012 at 05:30 PM
There are way too many pedestrians not paying attention. One was hit at Quimby & Elm, 2 more in front of Lord & Taylor, now this. When I cross any intersection, either walking or driving, I always assume the cross traffic will NOT stop and double check whether it is safe or not. When it comes to a contest between a car and a pedestrian, the car has a considerable advantage and should be treated as such.
Enough already January 26, 2012 at 05:49 PM
All the more reason for pedestrians and drivers alike to use extra caution.
Enough already January 26, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Unfortunately you can't legislate against lack of attention.
Enough already January 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
All the more reason for pedestrians use extreme caution when they walk. Even in a parking lot a car can back up and hit someone not paying attention.
Jeanne Ammermuller January 26, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Judging from the updated story, it was just a horrible tragedy all the way around.
JERSEY GIRL January 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM
They PD needs to do something about all the cars that wont stop on Rahway to allow the kids to cross the st in the am.. These impatient people "go around" the cars that are stopped for the students crossing in front of the armory. Common sense people, there is a reason why cars are stopped. What makes you think you have the right and are so impatient to not wait 5 minutes? An accident waiting to happen.....
Enough already January 26, 2012 at 09:40 PM
The responsibility for safety works both ways. Drivers must be vigilant but the one that is likely to be severely injured should take extra precautions - it is THEIR life in danger. It is no wonder that there haven't been more pedestrians hit when the trains arrive from 5PM to 7PM where the travelers cross between cars, against lights and mid-street on their way home. I stay away from the circle area at this time, it is too frustrating watching these Westfielders play dodge-car.
Nick Nacks January 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Not ideal for ANY TOWN, NJ. Why is WESTFIELD supposed to be sheltered from this type of stuff? If you want to do something, petition the town to make both entrances from Tuttle onto North right turn only - no more dangerous left turns or shooting across North.
The Cynic January 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM
This story sickens me. Such a tragedy. The intersection is very poorly lit and the bridge road is narrow. Making a turn from North Ave onto the bridge cross at night,,,,,with traffic....is difficult even without pedestrians. Though I don't know if it was an issue, I have experienced the only normal reaction to pass a stop car on the right thinking that the car was making a left turn (without the use of a signal...all too common) only to learn that the car was stopped to let a pedestrian cross the street. Now that I have learned to be alert of this situation I hope to avoid it in the future....but what about the car behind me? He may pass on the right. Seems to me that there is no perfect solution. All I know is that it is that if you are injured or worse it really does not make a difference who was at fault. That reads "the pedestrian needs to be aware".
The Cynic January 27, 2012 at 12:26 AM
It is odd to me that the expert consultants who had the idea to put those atrocious speed bumps on Benson Place and Gallows Hill Road was looking in the wrong direction (they should have been removed long ago). They should have been looking at and addressing all the accident prone ones in Westfield. As far as I am concerned, the "in the middle of the block" crossing and L&T is another death ready to occur. This is not to mention all the "hell bent" drivers in town. They are so obvious and in plain sight I believe the police could nail them with ease and, in doing so, curtail the tempo of such drivers. For this to happen, the police chief will need to make it a priority. This may be the best solution. My hidden camcorder (YouTube) will provide all the evidence the chief will need. I am retired and this will be a great project. I do very good close-ups.
Sally McBride January 31, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Dude, do you post this same thing on every story? Thank god that anyone that reads this site now knows what you are like
Sally McBride January 31, 2012 at 09:54 PM
yea, it is right by the middle school (clark and e dudley). But that is the suburbs. You cannot light up the entire town. People just have to be extra careful
JERSEY GIRL February 01, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Something should be done regarding residents who live on busy streets, like North, who try to get out of their driveways, only to look in the mirrow and find a car on their "rear". Isnt that illegal? What is the rush? This town tends to feel too "entitled" and no one here can wait.. always in a rush... how about slowing it down a bit?? I hope no one every slams into the back of my car with my kids there because they cant obey the speed limit and yield to the car in front of them. Maybe PD should patrol North, South and West Broad and start issuing tickets. Drivers are not obeying the speed limits.
Wally Westfield February 01, 2012 at 05:19 PM
4. Catching police chief parizeau engaging in promiscuous activity with the "other" woman behind Manhattan bagel only to be caught by a police officer working the night shift. Rookie mistake.

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