Pensacola downtown hit-and-run raises concerns about pedestrian safety

Local News

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — As police continue to look for the driver who ran over a man in a crosswalk downtown and left the scene, people are concerned about the safety of pedestrians.

Video captured the moment 22-year-old Max Whitman was run over by a newer model white Toyota Tundra around 1 a.m. Saturday, June 8. Whitman has a fractured skull and clavicle and has a fracture just below his eye. He said he looked both ways before crossing on Palafox between Garden and Romana Streets, but he didn’t see the truck and heard it speed up just before he was hit.

“Something like this incident that happened, I can’t say it would’ve been prevented by putting up more signage or even flashing lights but it definitely couldn’t have hurt,” Drew Buchanan said.

Buchanan walks and bikes a lot around town and said he’s been hit before and now he’s always looking for cars that might not stop.

“I’ve been hit, thankfully not bad, on my bicycle three times,” he said. “Each time I was obeying the law. There just happened to be a distracted driver.”

During any given day, you’ll see hundreds of people cross the street as they shop downtown. Sharon Wolfe and her husband sit outside on the sidewalk all the time.

“It is a very busy street,” Wolfe said. “You have to stay safe, no doubt, and you need to look both ways when you cross the street.”

She thinks they should put a sign directly in the middle of the crosswalk, and Buchanan agrees and said there are inexpensive options.

“I think we can spend very little money on signage, something like flashing lights, signs in the middle of the street between the two vehicle lanes,” he said.

Others have suggested shutting down several downtown streets and not allowing any vehicles.

Police are still looking for the driver of the truck involved in Saturday’s hit-and-run that could have damage to the driver side mirror.

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