Did faulty street lights play role in Ogden pedestrian accident?

Published: Sunday, Oct. 4 2015 6:06 p.m. MDT

OGDEN — Investigators are looking to see if faulty street lights played a role in an accident that seriously injured three pedestrians Saturday night.

Marjorie Bell, 83, and Rose Flygare, 72, suffered broken bones, and a 12-year-old girl suffered a fractured skull after they were struck by a pickup truck while leaving Peery’s Egyptian Theater. They were crossing Washington Boulevard near 24th Street when the accident happened about 10:25 p.m.

“(It was) a real unfortunate accident that I think broke everyone’s heart,” Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said. “It was just a real tragedy.”

Caldwell also attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival with his family Saturday night. As they went in, he noticed the street lights were blinking. “When we left, you could see that the lights hadn’t turned on yet,” he said.

Just before 10:30 p.m. about 800 moviegoers left the theater. A crowd was crossing the street, leaving the theater, when three people were hit by a pickup truck heading south on Washington Boulevard.

"I saw the group that was crossing the road at the time of the event,” Caldwell said. “They had one of these orange flags that we’ve put out to help with safe passage. One girl walking in the front had that over her head. They tried to make themselves as visible as possible and, unfortunately, it just seems like he wasn't paying attention."

Police are still investigating the accident, and the driver has not been charged or cited.

"We talked to the 22-year-old that was involved in the accident," Caldwell said. "He said he didn't see them and was distracted.”

It was dark that night, but how much of a factor those malfunctioning lights played is still hard to say. Caldwell expects to get an engineer's report on what went wrong with the street lamps within the next few days.

The mayor points out the lamps on the west side were still on and the crosswalk is clearly marked. The faulty lamps were repaired Sunday morning and extra police patrols were out for the film festival that night.

“We don't ever want an event like that,” Caldwell said. “We want to do everything possible to avoid those types of things."

With as much foot traffic that is in the area sometimes at night, Caldwell said he'd like to see additional safety measures in place for the future. "You'll see some improvements at these crosswalks,” he said. “We're talking with (the Utah Department of Transportation) right now about options to improve them."

Caldwell said he'd like to see some of the flashing overhead lights that are at some Salt Lake City crosswalks.

Contributing:  Viviane Vo-Duc     

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