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Latest crosswalk crash injures Santa Rosa man

  • At the southeast corner of Fifth Street in Mendocino Ave., in Santa Rosa, Tuesday April 19, 2011, from left, Santa Rosa police department Field Evidence Technicians Scott Serena, Laura Tallman and Adora Pinnow record evidence points, after Joseph Dailey, 63, was crossing Fifth Street at Mendocino Avenue at about 9:50 p.m Monday evening April 18, and was struck by a car, resulting in serious injuries. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2011

A Santa Rosa man who suffered severe head injuries after being hit by a car in a Santa Rosa crosswalk is the latest victim in a series of Sonoma County vehicle-pedestrian crashes that have killed three people and hurt many others.

Joseph Dailey, 63, who was in critical condition Tuesday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, is the latest person struck in a crosswalk in a string of high-profile accidents since December. The crashes caused three deaths, including a Rohnert Park toddler, a 24-year-old Santa Rosa man and a longtime Cloverdale resident.

Police departments across Sonoma County are responding with a combination of strategies. Petaluma and Santa Rosa are adding and improving crosswalks. Rohnert Park conducted a study on pedestrian safety. And several agencies have stepped up traffic enforcement aimed at catching errant drivers and pedestrians.

Law enforcement leaders echoed a sense of frustration because street safety ultimately comes down to individuals paying attention and following the law.

"There are no magic bullets here," Santa Rosa Police Chief Tom Schwedhelm said. "We all share responsibility."

Last year in Petaluma, 29 pedestrians were hurt in 26 vehicle crashes, Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons said. Of those, a dozen of the accidents <NO1><NO>were the pedestrians' fault, he said.

In response, Petaluma police officials adopted several strategies to prevent crashes. They pinpointed problem intersections and poured officers through the area to focus on illegal cell phone use while driving and speed enforcement.

"We also were working with our traffic engineers to see if there were improvements to be made with the crosswalks and intersections," Lyons said.

The efforts have paid off, Lyons said. Police have responded to three vehicle-pedestrian crashes in as many months, he said.

"We feel good," Lyons said. "We're going to continue with our enforcement efforts."


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