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Police warn pedestrians to be careful after four deaths on Pinellas Park roads in two weeks

Posted at 3:41 AM, Jan 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-25 06:45:35-05

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - It has been a dangerous two week for pedestrians in Pinellas Park where four people died after being hit by cars.

One street in particular is dangerous: 49th Street is jam packed with vehicles morning, afternoon and night.

"It’s really scary," said Vicki Patterson, who drives 49th Street often.

Patterson says sharing the road with people walking or bicycling can be challenging. 

"A lot of people jaywalk," said Patterson. "I guess they expect the cars to stop for them, which you have to if you see them but if it’s late or it’s foggy or something like that it’s very hard to see these people."

Pinellas Park Police say of the four people struck by cars, one man was in a crosswalk but the signal was red and the cars had the right-of-way.

"We are busy community and we have every major roadway that runs through the city," said Pinellas Park Police Sgt. Mike Lynch.

The biggest problem Lynch says are the people who decided they do not want to walk the extra block to the nearest crosswalk. He cannot express enough to people crosswalks are the safest place for them to walk across a street.

Lynch also says drivers need to put down their phones, too. 

Pinellas Park officials installed new signs in the medians of 49th Street to try to get drivers to stop making left and U-turns, but many are still doing them any way.

Patterson believes there is another way to change the mindset of people walking these busy streets.

"If they got like $100 ticket then maybe it would stop," Patterson said.

Sgt. Lynch agrees. He says ever year Pinellas Park Police sends officers out for a few weeks to educate jaywalkers and hand out tickets. A jaywalking citation will cost you about $60.