MAIN STREET — A 28-year-old Santa Monica woman was in critical condition with severe head trauma Tuesday after being struck by a car while in a crosswalk on Main Street, police said.
The woman, who was hit Monday night by a driver going at least 40 mph, may not recover from her injuries, leaving open the possibility that more serious charges could be filed, said Investigator Chris Dawson with the Santa Monica Police Department.
The driver, Cathy Jones, 40, of Malibu, allegedly fled the scene of the accident and was arrested minutes later and booked for felony hit-and-run.
Police said Jones was driving northbound on Main Street around 9:37 p.m. Monday when she attempted to pass a slower moving vehicle by using the bicycle/parking lane. The victim, who witnesses said was using a personal music device and did not look at oncoming traffic, had just stepped into the crosswalk at Pacific Avenue when she was struck.
Jones allegedly stopped for a few seconds and then took off. Witnesses were able to follow the vehicle and get a license plate number, which they provided to police. Officers located the driver a few minutes later in the area of Second Street and Ocean Park Boulevard.
Dawson is awaiting the results of a blood-alcohol test and planned to check video footage from security cameras in the area to see if the accident was captured. The SMPD is continuing to investigate the cause of the collision.
The collision serves as a reminder that pedestrians should always be aware of their surroundings and to never take crosswalks for granted, Dawson said.
“If you are a pedestrian you are never safe in a crosswalk,” he said. “You always have to look both ways before you cross. People have a false sense of security when they step into a crosswalk. They absolutely have the right of way, but frankly some people just don’t see them.”
Santa Monica has had its share of fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians in crosswalks, raising concerns about pedestrian safety on congested streets.
Monday’s crash was the first serious incident involving a pedestrian in 2010, Dawson said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dawson at (310) 458-8954 or Sgt. Jay Trisler at (310) 458-8971.