UPDATE: Concerns about Pedestrian Safety after Deadly Accident on Hal Greer Boulevard

By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove; Olivia Fecteau Email
By: WSAZ News Staff; Andrew Colegrove; Olivia Fecteau Email
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Mayor Concerned about Lack of Lighting in Area

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Mayor Steve Williams says city leaders were on the phone with the West Virginia Division of Highways first thing Friday morning. 

He said he is frustrated that some of the street lights in the area are not working. He noted that a study was done to see about the feasibility of a pedestrian walkway in the area, but that it would not be a helpful fix in the situation that happened Thursday night and that they are still looking at funding the project. 

“Projects like this are just slow in developing,” Williams said. “But frankly, nothing frustrates me more than to look up at those lights and know that they're burned out.”

Williams said the lack of traffic lights and crosswalks is another problem that he wants to address. 

“From Charleston Avenue all the way down through to the McDonald's, there's not a single light,” Williams said. 

The city of Huntington and American Electric Power say that the overhead street lights in that area are the responsibility of the state DOH. A spokeswoman with the DOH said Friday she cannot comment until they receive a police report.


UPDATE 9/27/13 @ 6:40 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – A crash that killed a woman on Hal Greer Boulevard near Cabell-Huntington Hospital has brought to light how dangerous the area can be for pedestrians.

Huntington Police say Marsha Dancy, 60, of Chesapeake, Ohio, was going to get a drink for her husband, who was a patient at the hospital, but she never made it back to the hospital. Police say she was crossing the road about 8 p.m. Thursday when she was hit and killed by a car.

There are no stoplights or pedestrian crossing lights for several blocks near the hospital, except for one near the McDonald’s at the hospital’s main entrance, and there is only one crosswalk, at the intersection of Hal Greer Boulevard and Boulevard Avenue.

On Friday, many people continued to cross in the middle of the road, dodging cars as they drove through, despite what happened on Thursday.

“It's kind of hit or miss,” Mary Miles, whose sister is going through surgery at Cabell-Huntington Hospital, said. “When you run across the street, you know, is there going to be a car there, isn't there going to be a car there? You never know.”

Miles said she found out about Thursday’s accident on Friday morning and felt scared to cross the street.

“The whole time walking across the street, I was terrified,” Miles said. “I took my earbuds out because I was listening to music. I wanted to be able to hear the traffic. I wanted to be able to see. I kept darting my eyes both directions.”

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams says about 25,000 cars drive down that part of Hal Greer Boulevard each day, and people who cross that street say those cars move quickly.

“You just got to […] look for lights and make sure you're extra cautious cause people fly through here,” Carlos Ramirez, whose wife is having a baby at the hospital, said.

Patients, family members and hospital workers cross the road each day to get to the other side where many restaurants are. After Thursday’s accident, many say it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Police say they do not yet have a complete report from the accident, but they tell WSAZ.com that Dancy was not in a marked crosswalk when she was hit.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

UPDATE 9/26/13 @ 11:10 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dispatchers say all lanes of Hal Greer Boulevard have reopened following a fatal accident.

Huntington Police say Marsha Dancy, 60, of Chesapeake, Ohio, was hit and killed by a car just before 8 p.m. Thursday.

Officers say the driver of the car is being cooperative and was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.

Police say Dancy's husband is currently a patient at Cabell Huntington's ER. They say her husband asked her Thursday evening if she could get him a soda.

She was returning to the hospital with his drink when the accident happened, police say.

Police say she started walking across Hal Greer Blvd. when she was struck by a car in the right southbound lane.

Justin Fanelli lives nearby and heard the collision. He says he and other neighbors ran over to the scene of the accident.

Fanelli says the driver was extremely distraught. He says he hugged her and tried to console her.

"She actually was, I believe, coming home from choir practice after church when it happened. She was a mess, and I stayed with her. I stayed with her until her fiance showed up."

Police say this stretch of road is poorly lit and that this is not the first time a person has been hit by a car near this location.

"It's not really well lit here,” Corporal Gary Queen with the Huntington Police Department said. “The lighting is kind of dim. There's a lot of traffic, so the potential for this sort of thing to happen has sort of got a high potential just from the foot traffic from the hospital."

Just last year, city council approved a design study of a pedestrian bridge that would stretch over Hal Greer Boulevard, stretching from Cabell Huntington Hospital to the Erma Byrd Center.

Mayor Steve Williams updated WSAZ.com about the status of the project Thursday.

Williams says the study is complete. Now the focus is finding funding to begin construction.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

ORIGINAL STORY 9/26/13 @ 8:30 p.m.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Cabell County 911 dispatchers say a pedestrian has been hit and killed by a car along Hal Greer Boulevard in Huntington.

Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com both lanes of traffic in both directions have been closed in the 1300 block of Hal Greer Boulevard.

We have a crew on the scene.

No word on when the road will be reopened.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.

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