UPDATE: Pedestrian killed in early morning accident identified

UPDATE: Pedestrian killed in early morning accident identified

Michele Ellson
Otis Drive pedestrian collision

Police are investigating a fatal pedestrian collision that occurred early Wednesday on Otis Drive. Photo by Donna Eyestone.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. Wednesday, April 9

Police are investigating the early morning death of a pedestrian struck by a minivan Wednesday on Otis Drive.

The victim, 64-year-old Carol Weston of Alameda, was crossing the 2200 block of Otis Drive toward the Alameda South Shore Center shopping complex shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday when she was struck by a vehicle heading east. Alameda Police Lt. Jill Ottaviano said the woman died on scene.

"It's really sad," Ottaviano said.

The driver of the minivan that struck Weston was questioned at the scene and released. Ottaviano said the man showed no objective signs of intoxication but that tests are being processed.

"They're definitely cooperating with the investigation," Ottaviano said of the driver and his passenger.

It's not yet clear who was responsible for the collision, though police said Weston was not in a crosswalk when she entered the four-lane arterial road. As part of their investigation, police are reviewing a surveillance video from the shopping center that captured the collision.

Weston was wearing dark clothing and had a music player and ear buds, though it was unclear whether she was wearing them at the time of the accident, police said.

Police closed Otis Drive between Park Street and Willow Street for more than five hours Wednesday, reopening the road at 10:22 a.m.

The collision marks Alameda's first pedestrian death this year; it comes as local police are waging a public campaign to improve pedestrian safety and as a number of highly publicized pedestrian deaths around the Bay Area is increasing attention to safety on the streets. The Alameda Police Department's campaign includes crosswalk stings and a pedestrian safety walk scheduled for May 3.

Local police investigate about 40 pedestrian collisions a year, and had investigated eight in the first month of this year alone. Last year, police investigated 41 pedestrian collisions, including two near where Weston was struck and a third seven blocks away, data provided by the police department show. None of those collisions was fatal.

On January 27 of that year, a pedestrian was cited for failing to cross in a crosswalk after a collision at the 2300 block of Otis Drive, and on November 8, a driver was cited for speeding after striking a pedestrian in the same block of Otis. On March 29, 2013, a driver was cited for failure to yield after a collision on the 2900 block of Otis Drive.

Comments

Submitted by Tracy Zollinger (not verified) on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

My thoughts and condolences to the family of the woman.

Submitted by khandrola (not verified) on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

" was not in a painted crosswalk. " People, really, use common sense and avoid such tragedy for you and your family.

Submitted by Billie (not verified) on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

It is amazing how often people cross streets here without using the crosswalk. They place themselves in harms way just to save a few minutes. It's a tragedy, but I hope the driver gets help to work through this accident. RIP to the woman.

Submitted by C. (not verified) on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

Very sorry the woman was killed. Most of my near-misses as a pedestrian in Alameda have been when I was in a crosswalk and drivers were so focused on watching the traffic around them that they weren't even looking for pedestrians. That said - nobody should be jaywalking across Otis Drive - especially in the dark. At that time of the morning I'm guessing unless the driver was pulling out of a driveway that the driver probably was exceeding the posted speed limit of 25. Probably a lot of factors involved in the accident. The Chamber of Commerce and business leaders got their wish... they have successfully attracted shoppers, movie goers and restaurant patrons from off island here in droves to clog up our streets without thinking through the traffic implications. Now we have gridlock on the weekends and morning and evening commute back-ups that make drivers impatient and more apt to take chances to cut a few minutes off of their trip across the island. Also I wonder if the number of bars/restaurants serving alcohol is a factor in how people are driving now too. Last night at approx. 9 p.m. I witnessed a car blow through a red light at Encinal and Oak Streets going in excess of the speed limit. Two of us traveling on Encinal who had a green light had to slam on our brakes to avoid hitting this person. Anyway... we all have our traffic nightmare stories and it only seems to be getting worse.

Submitted by neil (not verified) on Wed, Apr 9, 2014

Someone died. Can we maybe at least postpone airing our thoughts about culpability and politics? This accident really has nothing to do with the Chamber of Commerce and the movie theater. Nothing. In a particularly distatefully timed piece of snark, Alameda Action news reports this as "an apparent setback for a newly launched pedestrian safety awareness campaign." Really, can we just hold off the preaching and be a bit compassionate?

Submitted by Bette Page (not verified) on Thu, Apr 10, 2014

@neil Compassion-shaming people is not going to help. BUT pointing out that people "wearing dark clothing and had a music player and ear buds" as a cautionary tale, just might.