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People in Millcreek blame dark and ‘unsafe’ intersection for deadly pedestrian crash

Posted at 9:41 PM, Sep 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-16 21:17:05-04

MILLCREEK, Utah — People who live in Millcreek are blaming a dangerous intersection for the death of an elderly man Saturday night on 3900 South near 900 East.

Police said 68-year-old William Love lived near the crash site and died on scene.

A witness named Courtney Kirkman said she was waiting for Love to cross the street directly in front of her. She said the man was limping, unable to finish crossing before he was hit.

"I knew. I knew there was no way he survived it," Kirkman said. "In the darkness I could barely make him out until the headlights had him in dead center... It’s heartbreaking, and I just — I hope I never see anything like that again, to be honest with you, because it sucked."

Family members said Love was a veteran who had recently undergone knee replacement surgery. They believe he may have been trying to cross the street to find his dog that he typically walked with.

The female driver stopped and has been cooperating with the investigation.

"Just as much as my heart goes out to him and his family, my heart goes out to her," Kirkman said. "She was not speeding... She wasn’t going any faster than any other cars."

Sgt. Melody Gray with the Unified Police Department said the victim was not in a crosswalk. The driver was not impaired, but her conduct is still under investigation.

"The area is very dark, so we think that that was a major factor in this accident," Gray said. "The driver of course is traumatized by what happened."

Kirkman said the victim was not wearing dark clothing, but it would have still been nearly impossible for the driver to see him.

"It’s pitch black over there at night," Kirkman said. "This light that I’m standing under, is never on... There’s no lights over there on that side at all."

Years ago, Kirkman lived in one of the homes very close to the crash site. Her brother now lives in that home.

The only streetlight in the area that could have illuminated that portion of the street has been broken for years, Kirkman said.

"Somebody had to die to get it to turn on?" Kirkman cried. "It doesn’t change the events of things, but what we can do is act right now and fix the light, and maybe the next person that decides to try and cross the road will make it... Victim shaming is disgusting. He died. What higher price could he have paid for his choices? Probably not the smartest (choice), no, but come on. We’ve all jaywalked across the street at some point in our life. Who are we to judge?"

John Miller, the public works director and city engineer for Millcreek, said the city has not received a report that the light has been broken for at least three years. A technician will look at the light on Monday.

"We would encourage people to report it before an accident occurs,” Miller said. "They're there 365 days a year. I'm there maybe once or twice a year... This is one of those, it's just sad, tragic. I'd encourage everybody to go to the crosswalk, even though it's another 300 feet."

Miller added that the city is unable to add lighting to the north side of 3900 S near 900 E because of all the wiring in the area.