Concerns mount over safety of Hull Street Road for cyclists and pedestrians alike following Thanksgiving fatality

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — After a pedestrian was killed in a crash Thanksgiving Night on Hull Street Road, local residents shared their concerns about the safety of the roadway.

“There is no bike lane,” Melinda Ruhl told 8News on Friday. “There is nothing for pedestrians or bicyclists to walk or go through.”

Although stretches of Hull Street Road do have a sidewalk, the paving is not consistent along the roadway. 8News reached out to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) about whether there are plans to adjust the speed limits on the road or add more sidewalks, but state offices are closed for the holiday.

“Historically, the Hull Street corridor in Chesterfield County has seen the most injury and fatal crashes,” Sergeant Stephan Rouze with Chesterfield County Police Department’s (CCPD) Traffic Safety Division told 8News after a ride-along in August. “About a year ago, we started the Hull Street safety campaign, which became about a quarterly initiative where we would advise the public what we’re doing, in hopes they would voluntarily comply, knowing that we would be out there, obey the speed limit, slow down, stop for red lights, put their phones down.”

Thanksgiving Night, authorities issued a press release that they were investigating a fatal crash that happened in the 7000 block of Hull Street Road at about 6:08 p.m. Police said that the driver of a 2013 Kia Sorento was driving eastbound on the roadway when it hit a pedestrian. That pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to authorities, the driver of the Kia remained on scene and has been cooperating with police.

“It’s sad for both the family and the driver because the driver has to live with that they killed somebody,” Ruhl said.

Sgt. Rouze echoed that sentiment in August, just days after a bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run crash.

“Every time somebody dies on our roadways, we have to go notify a family, and that’s the worst part of the job, is having to go tell your loved ones that you were killed in a crash,” he said.

On July 25, a 28-year-old bicyclist was killed by a driver who was later charged with DUI, DUI manslaughter and felony hit and run.

“Generally, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, drunk driving and people holding their phones or distracted by their phones are the primary causes for crashes that we see,” Rouze said. “The faster you go, it takes you more distance to stop. The faster you go, the more severe the impact.”

On Black Friday, Sgt. Rouze told 8News that CCPD officers were out in the community doing enforcement. Although they had not set up specific checkpoints, he said that authorities were doing roving patrols, looking to catch and end unsafe driving behaviors.

“Generally, people are upset that they get pulled over, and we don’t blame them for being upset. It’s an inconvenience,” he said. “But from our perspective, seeing the things that we see day in and day out from bad driving behaviors, our ultimate goal is that people get home safely. Driving is a team sport, and if we all work together, we can all get to where we’re going safely.”

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