Pedestrian fatalities, safety committee to take up issue

Bakersfield Police are investigating a deadly pedestrian accident in Oildale and whether criminal charges should be filed against the driver.

BAKERSFIELD, CA - Bakersfield Police are investigating a deadly pedestrian accident in Oildale and whether criminal charges should be filed against the driver.

This comes on the heels of a city council member's request to discuss pedestrian safety and street lighting around Bakersfield.

Police say a 23-year-old woman struck a 32-year-old man Thursday night while he was crossing North Chester Avenue.

The man was taken to the hospital where he died.

Police say immediately after the accident, the woman left the scene.

"She went to her place of employment which was a short distance away, and immediately called police from there," said Sgt. Joe Grubbs, Bakersfield Police Department.

But by leaving the scene, the woman could face several charges, including gross negligence.

So far this year, eleven pedestrians have been killed across Bakersfield, along with Lamont, Lost Hills, Shafter, Delano and McFarland.

17 were killed by this time last year.

"Most pedestrian traffic accidents don't occur on the sidewalk or away from the road, they actually occur in the roadway somewhere where there's vehicular traffic," said Grubbs.

That's why a Public Transportation and Pedestrian Safety Committee was formed earlier this year, formed by Supervisor Leticia Perez and city officials.

"We've gotten everyone in the same room and we're talking about it. That dialogue has started. I think that's a step in the right direction. I'm really hoping because of that, we're able to identify some ways to make it safer for folks on the street," said Willie Rivera, Ward One Councilman.

Rivera says during the two meetings they've had, the topic has been focused on Get Bus route changes and the further distance some pedestrians have to walk.

But, Rivera says he wants the discussion to move along.

"I've asked that on our next agenda, we talk about pedestrian safety, specifically what we're doing to light up our city and making sure we're making it as easy as possible for a driver or a pedestrian to see a car or see any type of potential danger while they're out there on the street," continued Rivera.

Bakersfield Police advise everyone to simply stay out of roadways.

Last year, 37 pedestrians were killed on Kern County roads.

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