Cobb County sees 84 wrecks involving pedestrians this year, 7 deaths
by Rachel Gray
December 14, 2013 11:49 PM | 3963 views | 15 15 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two joggers cross over Floyd Road on Friday on the Silver Comet Trail, and listen to music and check a phone as a motorist waits for them to exit the crosswalk. According to the Cobb Police Department, units have responded to 84 traffic accidents involving pedestrians in 2013, a decrease of five to date. Seven of those pedestrians were killed.
Two joggers cross over Floyd Road on Friday on the Silver Comet Trail, and listen to music and check a phone as a motorist waits for them to exit the crosswalk. According to the Cobb Police Department, units have responded to 84 traffic accidents involving pedestrians in 2013, a decrease of five to date. Seven of those pedestrians were killed.
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MARIETTA — Metro Atlanta drivers know the roadways are jammed with accidents daily, and nearly every week a pedestrian or bicyclist is involved in these collisions.

Police departments within Cobb County send out an alert when a pedestrian or bicyclist has been struck by a vehicle.

Thomas Lehner, a Cobb police officer who works traffic enforcement, said Cobb police tracked 84 pedestrian-related collisions in 2013. There were 89 in 2012 and 97 in 2011.

Out of the 84 pedestrians hit by vehicles this year, 36 resulted in an injury and seven died. There were seven deaths in 2012 and five in 2011.

“Many of the contributing factors are pedestrian violations,” Lehner said of people not using crosswalks or being under the influence of alcohol.

This includes people dashing across multiple lanes to use the Cobb Community Transit system — placing themselves in perilous situations — and residents trying to be active in their community.

County-wide concern

Some areas of the county are more dangerous than others. This year, Acworth had six pedestrian accidents, compared to five last year and four in 2009. None have resulted in any arrests this year. There was one injury and no deaths.

“The numbers aren’t big and we are glad,” said Capt. Mark Cheatham with the Acworth Police Department.

Major Matt Boyd of the Powder Springs Police Department said he was glad to report no pedestrian-related accidents this year.

The corridors with the highest concentration of pedestrian collisions, according to Lehner, are areas near Windy Hill Road, Austell Road, Cobb Parkway and South Cobb Drive.

“Currently, Georgia State Patrol has increased their patrol within Cobb County, specifically all the interstates that travel through (I-75, I-575, I-285, and I-20),” Lehner said.

But the safety concern spreads throughout the entire county.

On the afternoon of Nov. 6, Elizabeth Walton, 59, of Atlanta, was struck by a car as she crossed a private driveway at 3020 Paces Mill Road in the Vinings area, west of the Chattahoochee River, according to police.

Based on witness information, the police report said James Taylor, 58, of Atlanta, was driving a black 2013 Mercedes GL550 and was attempting to turn right out of his home to go eastbound onto Paces Mill Road.

“After striking the pedestrian, the automobile traveled over her,” the report said. Taylor was not charged.

Vehicular homicide charges

The accidents have been reported any time, day or night.

On a rainy Thursday afternoon at 3:50 p.m. on Dec. 5, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Franklin and Delk roads, resulting in a serious injury.

Jeannie Richards, 40, of Marietta, was crossing at the east side of the intersection in the rain when police say she was hit by a blue 2012 Ford Focus driven by Jessica Lamb, of Marietta, who was traveling west on Delk Road.

Richards was transported to Kennestone Hospital via Metro Ambulance. No charges were filed.

Sometimes the pedestrian is as fault, other times it’s driver error.

On Oct. 29, Therman Kilcrease, of Austell, was driving a gold Chevrolet Monte Carlo while traveling on Riverside Parkway at 86 mph, where the maximum speed limit is 45 mph, according to the warrant.

Kilcrease collided with Antonia Walker, who was riding his bike, the warrant stated. Walker sustained a spinal injury.

The warrant said that “a clear plastic baggie of suspected powder cocaine was found among (Kilcrease’s) personal effects at the scene of the collision” and Kilcrease had been drinking before he got behind the wheel.

The accident resulted in the death of front-seat passenger Ollie Jones, police say.

Kilcrease was charged with speeding, failure to maintain lane, reckless driving and three felony counts for reportedly causing serious injury by vehicle, homicide in the first degree and possession of cocaine.

On two wheels

Pedestrian-related collision accident reports do not “reflect bicycle related collisions, as all bicycles are defined as a vehicle,” Lehner said.

Still, there have been deaths related to these types of collisions.

At 8 p.m. on Nov. 4, Marietta police investigated a fatal crash on Powder Springs Road near Chestnut Hill Road.

Danny Nation, 49, was riding his bicycle in the northbound lanes of Powder Springs Road when he attempted to cross the street, according to police reports. Nation was struck by two vehicles, a 1994 Cadillac and 1998 Mitsubishi 3000.

“Both vehicles stopped immediately. The drivers of the vehicles called 911 and attempted to render aid to Nation,” according to the police report.

Nation suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The area where Nation was crossing was dark and he did not have any reflective clothing on. The bike had a headlight, but no signs of a rear reflector or light,” according to the report.

Neither driver faced charges.

Road warriors

A row of rental bikes and stacks of helmets sit outside the Silver Comet Depot, located off Floyd Road in Mableton, right next to the 12.8 mile Silver Comet Trail.

Debbie Rushton, of Mableton, 59, said she bikes three or four times a week on the Silver Comet Trail. Her typical ride is 40 to 60 miles, which takes three hours per trip.

“It is just nice to be out here,” Rushton said Friday at noon, after days of rain in Cobb.

Biking mostly for recreation, Rushton said she feels the pathway is safe and isolated from vehicle traffic.

One tip Rushton gives fellow cyclists is not to wear headphones or ear buds, which make it difficult to hear what might be happening around the cyclist.

Eric Mortensson, who has been a manager for Silver Comet Depot for four years, said cycling is gaining momentum in Georgia because it is healthy, good for the environment and is often faster than using a car to travel down the congested roads.

“Over the past year, I have seen a noticeable difference for commuting,” Mortensson said.

Felip Cilenti, a technician for the bike shop, said he has tried to avoid using a car for four years and has seen an increase in fellow cyclists on the road.

Mortensson said he tells new customers to have reflective lights and a mirror. Cyclists older than 16 do not have to wear a helmet, but, Cilenti said, “That needs to change.”

Cilenti said to stay off Austell Road and Dallas Highway, including the portion that becomes Whitlock Avenue, which he hopes will have bike lanes added soon. Mortensson said cyclists should choose a road with large shoulders.

Mortensson said the same traffic laws apply to a bicycle just like a car.

“Be a courteous cyclist, just like you should be a courteous driver,” he said.

Comments
(15)
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Then There's
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December 17, 2013
The Marietta Power truck that flies past me every morning on 278 in Paulding County in excess of 70 mph. I've reported it to the city and he's still so important he takes a city truck home 30 miles and doesn't have to obey speed limits. And this from a vehicle that Marietta tracks with GPS, so they know how fast he drives!!!!
Lib in Cobb
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December 17, 2013
@christmascameearly: I neglected to address your choice of words, "constant stream of negativity". I would call it "a critical review". You would be a better person if you listened. Also, "liberal nonsense", again you would be a better person if you listened.

Lib in Cobb
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December 17, 2013
@christmascameearly: Yes, I am moving from GA, we are going back to civilization. I did not say that I will stop participating in the MDJ blogs and comments sections. I have a quota of "repukes" I need to aggravate before I can permanently sign off. Thank you for adding your name to the list. Don't you think this is fun?
Not To Mention
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December 16, 2013
The police are constantly speeding... especially officers from other jurisdictions traveling through to/from work. Why would anyone want to obey the same laws public safety so blatantly disregards themselves?
@Not To Mention
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December 16, 2013
As a retired police officer, let me give you some advice on what to do. Next time you see an officer from another jurisdiction speeding, try to get the car number and jurisdiction name and contact that police department with the complaint. If you don't want to call them, call the governmental center (city hall, county office, etc.) and report it.
Which Way Ray
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December 16, 2013
Amen!!!



The Speed limit says 45 for me and you... that means 55 or 60 for police without their lights on!!!

Or you see them constantly typing away on there laptop weaving down the road way!!!

WhichWayRay?!?!
Lib in Cobb
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December 15, 2013
I have lived in GA for 16 years. I have driven in almost every state and nearly every major city and I can easily say that GA drivers are the absolute worst and most dangerous drivers I have witnessed. It should be no wonder that there are so many accidents which lead to deaths and very serious injuries.

The following is a list of my observations involving driving abnormalities in GA:

Speeding (all the time), tailgating at high speed, tailgating at any speed, lack of courtesy, not using turn signals, quick lane changes without signaling, accelerating when the driver should be decelerating, speeding up to a stop light or stop sign or a stopped vehicle then braking as if it were an afterthought,lack of sense on wet roads, (roads are slippery when wet), most drivers in GA are attempting to be involved in the next accident, unsafe driving on roads when possibly coated with black ice, making unsafe left turns (without signals), cutting across three lanes of traffic at the last opportunity to exit (without signals), not yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks, blocking other cars so lane changes are impossible.

Do GA divers believe that speeding through traffic and being the next person at the red light is going to make you less late for work. On this issue, get out of bed earlier and leave sooner.

I will also say, slow down, the life you save may be your own or the life of a child and STOP TAILGATING at any speed. This is not NASCAR and you are not nor will you ever be Dale, Jr.

"Unsafe at any speed", is an accurate description of too many GA drivers.
Old Man
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December 15, 2013
We didn't have these problems until folks from other states decided we didn't know how to drive and wanted to teach us their way. Now the "lost" generation has learned to drive like that, except they want to give you the finger when they cut in front of you.

I guess the "good ole days" of courtesy and concern for others are over. Heaven help us.

Lib in Cobb
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December 16, 2013
@Old Man: There are far more born and raised in GA than transplants. I have previously heard this foolish explanation of why Georgians drive the way they do. I have driven all over this state both urban and very rural. The very rural areas have few transplants, the locals drive as bad as anywhere else in the state.

As I have stated, I have traveled by car in many locales around the US, GA has the worst and most dangerous drivers I have seen. No where else in the US, including the northeast, have I seen what I listed in my previous post. This is and always has ben a problem with GA drivers, not a problem with the transplants.
Old Man
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December 16, 2013
I know you've been doing accurate research and keeping volumes of notes during your 16 years. It's funny - I just saw an "accurate list" of the most dangerous drivers and Georgia wasn't even in the top ten. Guess you have faulty research or maybe you may be part of the problem.
@Lib
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December 16, 2013
Didn't I read that you were leaving Georgia and was so happy to be going? Find you a safer state and see what kind of complaints you can come up with. You've probably seen a few examples of bad drivers and just know (by their tag) that they are natives. And those rural drivers - get your head out of the sand - most of them are young folks and from other areas. Why don't you publish your research - I'm sure it would be interesting.
Lib in Cobb
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December 16, 2013
@Old Man: My information is also accurate and first hand, not developed by an insurance company. I too saw the list to which you referred.

@@Lib: Yes, I am leaving GA, my sentence in this wasteland is nearly over. No, I have not seen a "few" examples of bad drivers. I have seen MANY!

So by percentages, most were from GA.
christmascameearly
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December 16, 2013
Lib in Cobb, thank you for this wonderful Christmas gift!! You are leaving Georgia. Hallelujah!! I won't even ask where you're going but I sure pity the people who have to read your constant stream of negativity. Not to mention your ridiculous liberal nonsense. Kevin Fooley is really going to miss you. Unless...you are the same person. Nevermind, we could never be THAT lucky and have him gone, too.
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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December 15, 2013
The fact is, the younger generation has become a "Baby On Board" Society...expecting everyone else to watch out for their safety rather then doing it for themselves.
Lib in Cobb
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December 16, 2013
@Survivor: The dangerous driving habits of Georgians include all age groups.
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