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Sebastopol police: Flashing crosswalk active before fatal collision

A Sebastopol man who was struck and killed Wednesday evening while crossing Healdsburg Avenue was walking in a lighted, flashing crosswalk at the time, witnesses have told police.

Frederic Ernst, 69, was apparently on his usual evening constitutional when a westbound Ford Focus hit him around 7 p.m. as he crossed toward Murphy Avenue and his neighborhood.

The driver, Occidental resident Ajatha Bollmannwytema, 75, was driving toward the sunset at the time and later told police she hadn't seen Ernst, likely because of the sun's glare, Police Chief Jeff Weaver said Friday.

"She was not aware of his presence until she struck him," Weaver said.

There are no indications that Bollmannwytema was speeding, Weaver said. She reported she was traveling at or slightly below the 30 mph speed limit, he said.

Police have heard from at least two witnesses, including one who slowed while approaching from the other side, that the flashing, in-ground crosswalk lights were on, as was the blinking beacon mounted on a pole at each edge of the road, Weaver said.


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