A 26-year-old pedestrian’s death early Thursday was at least the city’s eighth this year, the second-deadliest for pedestrians in Lexington in the last 20 years, police said.
With two months left, 2016 could still top the most lethal year, 2008, when 10 pedestrians were killed, according to police statistics. Twenty years ago, in 1996, there were only two pedestrian deaths.
Dylan Douglas Haun died of multiple blunt-force injuries Thursday at the University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital after he was hit on Richmond Road outside of Man o’ War Boulevard, according to the coroner.
“We have seen quite the rise ... this year,” said Sgt. Randall Combs of the Lexington police collision reconstruction unit. “Most of the ones that we see are occurring after dark in the evening and the nighttime hours, pedestrians trying to cross a highway with multiple lanes without a pedestrian crosswalk.”
The pedestrians killed have contributed to a new high in traffic fatalities in the 32 years since records have been kept. In total, 43 people died on Lexington-Fayette County roads so far this year in 41 collisions. Last year, 27 were killed in 24 accidents.
In 1985, the number was 34, but in the years of 1997 and 1999, the total was 19. As recently as 2013, there were only 18 fatal collisions
The last six days have been a particularly dangerous period for pedestrians. Three have died; two more were seriously injured in at least four accidents since early Saturday.
Haun was hit near Richmond and South Eagle Creek Drive.
In the other crashes, University of Kentucky employee Timothy Moore and Louisville detective Jason Schweitzer were killed Saturday on South Upper Street. Two teens, including 15-year-old Lafayette freshman Mark Portwood, were injured in separate crashes on Clays Mill and Winchester roads.
Some of the fatal pedestrian crashes led to criminal charges. In others, the drivers weren’t identified.
After the Saturday crash, Suzanne Whitlow, 26, was charged with two counts of manslaughter and driving under the influence. She was hospitalized after the crash but was booked into the Fayette County Detention Center on Thursday.
On Oct. 4, Jonathan Adams, 21, was killed after being struck on North Broadway at Dover Road, outside New Circle. That driver didn’t stop.
Other fatal pedestrian crashes in Lexington this year include: one on Jan. 30; one on April 22, a hit and run on New Circle Road and Industry Road; one on I-64 on May 30, in which multiple vehicles hit 66-year-old Stanley Willoughby; and one on Sept. 18 on New Circle Road near Industry Road, police said.
Combs said that basic safety rules apply to pedestrians: Look both ways before crossing the street. Only cross the street in designated crosswalks and follow the “walk” and “don’t walk” signals. Put cellphones away.
Visibility is usually an issue in pedestrian accidents, Combs said, whether it be from the dark or, in the case of the Clays Mill accident, a crest in the road before the area in which the pedestrian was trying to cross.
“Some people that walk think, ‘Well, it’s just going to be a short distance,’” Combs said. “But being as visible as possible is important. .... A lot of time pedestrians wrongfully assume that traffic sees them.”