An 18-year-old male pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries and was rushed to hospital late Sunday afternoon when he was hit by a car while crossing Ospika Boulevard at the First Avenue intersection.
According to a witness who saw the accident, the pedestrian was hit as he stepped into the southbound lane of Ospika. A female companion saw the approaching car, a red sedan being driven by a young woman, and tried to grab the man to pull back to safety as she retreated but it was too late to avoid the collision.
The impact flipped the man into the air and he landed several metres down the road.
The witness, who asked not to be identified, was on her motorcycle waiting to turn left onto westbound First Avenue and was stopped at the intersection in the left turning lane.
“They started walking and I was looking at the red car but didn’t have enough reaction to tell them ‘don’t cross,’ so she jumped back but he didn’t and the car driver didn’t see them and he did a somersault,” the witness said.
“It was horrible.”
Prince George RCMP later confirmed evidence supported the man was hit in the crosswalk. The driver, a 22-year-old woman, was cooperative with police, who are considering charges. Alcohol or drugs are not believed to be a factor in the accident, which happened at about 5 p.m. Sunday.
Several people at the scene described the intersection as dangerous and the city should consider improvements such as a pedestrian-activated crossing light.
“I always stop for pedestrians and they did add that turning lane but if you’re advocating for a traffic light I think that would be appropriate for this busy intersection, the witness said.
Matt Jubinville, who said the victim is his friend’s brother, has lived in the area all his life and he says he’s witnessed several close calls with drivers failing to yield to the pedestrians.
“I’ve seen kids coming out from that white fence and coming across that crosswalk and people having to slam on their brakes,” he said. “I’ve been in close calls myself, just driving at a normal speed and kids will come from behind that fence and go into the crosswalk without really paying attention.
“It’s a dangerous road. Personally I think they need a four-way stop or yellow flashers to make it safer.”
The intersection is a recognized school crossing and crossing guards hired to work on school days help kids get across. But as one man said, the guards themselves sometimes are threatened by drivers who fail to slow down.
“Even the safety patrol, I’ve seen a couple of them almost get hit,” he said. “They don’t slow at the crosswalks, just not being alert. They forget the rules, a pedestrian has the right of way at a crosswalk. They put the four-way stop in at First and Tabor years ago and look at how well that works there.”
Another woman at the scene said Prince George motorists are among the worst she’s seen in any city for failing to stop for pedestrians and suggested drivers need to be more aware of traffic rules as they apply to crosswalks and intersections.