A Santa Monica resident was killed early Monday morning when she was struck by a car at the intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and 18th St.
The accident is the fifth time a pedestrian has been killed by a car in under a month.
According to Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez from the Santa Monica Police Department, a woman in her 60’s was crossing Santa Monica Blvd. at about 6:09 a.m. when she was hit by a vehicle traveling eastbound.
The victim was transported to a local hospital with significant injuries and died after arriving at the hospital.
The driver stopped and is cooperating with police.
The intersection of Santa Monica and 18th has a crosswalk with embedded lights but traffic on Santa Monica does not have a stop sign or stop light. Officers said there’s no indication of alcohol or impairment on the part of the driver and the investigation is ongoing into the details of the accident.
The Monday crash is the fifth time a car has killed someone since early March.
On March 4, a pedestrian was hit on the 1700 block of Pico Blvd. That individual was severely injured and eventual died from their injuries.
On March 5, a man was killed on the 2400 block of Nielson Way at about 1:50 a.m. In that case, the victim was not in a crosswalk and the driver fled the scene. SMPD is still searching for the driver.
On March 16, a pedestrian in a crosswalk was hit at the intersection of Lincoln and Hill at about 6:15 a.m. The victim died at the hospital a short while later.
On March 21 at about 3:30 p.m. a driver hit and killed a pedestrian in the Civic Center parking lot. The driver Absadi Tewelde Kidane has been charged with one felony count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter and resisting an officer. Kidane is accused of striking Donald Thomas Jr., 40, of Hawthorne with his vehicle as Thomas paid for parking at a kiosk. Kidane allegedly tried to flee both in a car and then on foot.
“This is unfortunately not the first time we in our city have had to deal with a traffic fatality and obviously, it’s a big concern for us because we’re trying to do what we can to prevent them but this is a multifaceted approach where we need to educate drivers and pedestrians,” said Rodriguez.
The Department utilizes a Major Accident Response Team to investigate any serious crash and Rodriguez said the team of experts has access to investigative tools specially designed for traffic accidents. However, even with access to the wealth of information stored on a vehicles internal computer, the MART officers will always been investigating an accident and the department wants to do as much as possible to prevent future deaths.
Rodriguez said traffic officers will be expanding outreach in the coming months with visits to neighborhood organizations and the challenge for the department is finding ways to change behaviors for both drivers and pedestrians citywide.
“If you look at where accidents are occurring, they’re spread out throughout the city,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is a really bad combination we have going on now and enforcement can only do so much. We need understanding and to be educating folks,” he said.
The department conducts regular traffic operations both to check for unsafe driving and also to enforce bicycle and pedestrian rules.
Rodriguez said the circumstances of each fatality have been different and that while the department will pursue any criminal behavior, he wants the community to focus on safe behavior rather than assigning blame.
In addition to the community meetings, the department will continue to conduct outreach via social media and other kinds of educational campaigns.
“We want to work with our messaging to put a good message out there for both the drivers and pedestrians,” he said.
Anyone with additional information regarding any of the recent accidents, including Monday’s is asked to call Investigator Jason Olson at (310) 458-8954 or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8495.