Fatal pedestrian accident triggers safety warning

Winnebago County Sheriff advises drivers to stay alert and pedestrians to avoid crossing busy highways
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 6:49 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “It was upsetting. It’s a terrible thing to happen," said Don Ward.

Don Ward was taking Illinois 251 home Friday night after attending a meeting. As he drove near Forest Hills Road he found emergency vehicle blocking the highway and flashing lights illuminating the sky.

“There was white tarp covering something in the road as we went past,” Ward said. “Then we found out later that there had been an accident."

Two pedestrians died after being hit by a car as they tried to cross the busy highway. They are the latest deaths in a growing number of pedestrian fatalities in the United States, which rose more than 50 percent in the last decade. Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana blames much of it on the world around us.

“I think we’re very distracted, whether we’re texting, or we’re on the phone and we get tied up in a conversation or we’re fiddling with the radio dial and we don’t really have our minds focused on where we’re going, and then all of a sudden something jumps out at you," Sheriff Caruana said.

Sheriff Caruana said these accidents can be prevented, but only if drivers pay attention and pedestrians remain visible and avoid crossing busy highways with heavy traffic.

“It’s very important because we want to keep everybody alive," Sheriff Caruana said. "We don’t want to see people getting killed like this.”

The identities of the victims will be released by the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office once next of kin are notified. The incident is still under investigation.

The driver of the vehicle did remain on scene and has been cooperating with the investigation.

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