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Man in wheelchair struck in crosswalk in Waynesboro

July 11, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A man in a wheelchair was hospitalized after being hit while crossing West Main Street on Tuesday in the same crosswalk where a woman was killed last September.

The man, whom police did not identify, was crossing from the south to the north side of the road in front of 44 W. Main St. around 4 p.m., Waynesboro police Sgt. Mike Bock said.

A 17-year-old girl driving a blue Saturn sedan hit him, Bock said.

The man was taken to Waynesboro Hospital for injuries that Bock said did not appear to be life-threatening.

"He seemed coherent, and he knew he needed his oxygen," said Barry Sonne, who owns two nearby businesses with his wife, Candace.

Sonne said he was one of several people who called 911.

"Candace saw him airborne," Sonne said.

The section of Pa. 16 near Mulberry Avenue is the site of an accident or near-miss about once a week, Sonne said. The man hit Tuesday crosses there almost daily and had groceries with him, he said.

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His motorized wheelchair has a tall, orange flag on the back, and Sonne lamented its failure to attract the driver's attention.

"He's doing his best to let people see him," Sonne said.

Kyeng Ja Kim, 65, was fatally struck at the same spot last fall, although police said they will never know whether Kim, whose body was thrown, was actually in the crosswalk. She was the first pedestrian fatality in the Borough of Waynesboro since November 2002, according to published reports.

However, a series of pedestrian accidents and fatalities have been occurring in the 3.5-square-mile municipality since then. At least five pedestrian accidents were reported between May 1 and June 3.

The Waynesboro Borough Council, at the committee level, has been considering options to better mark crosswalks.

While freestanding signs (called pylons) for the middle of crosswalks are initially free from the state, other towns have said they are frequently hit and costly to replace, Borough Council President Craig Newcomer said.

Instead, the council has favored flashing signs, he said.

"We started on the one crosswalk on Third Street," Newcomer said, referring to the neon signs at the intersection with Church Street.

Discussion has been planned for the council's joint committees meeting at 7 tonight in Borough Hall, according to Newcomer.

"It's a big priority, one of our top priorities," he said.

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