Recent collisions prompt safety reminders

Sheriff offers advice to drivers, pedestrians

— Pedestrians and motorists are being advised of a couple basic rules of the road in the wake of three pedestrian-vehicle crashes earlier in the week.

For pedestrians: Look both ways before you cross. For motorists: Watch out for and yield to pedestrians.

In the most serious of the crashes, two Omak teenagers were treated at Mid-Valley Hospital after being struck by a vehicle as they tried to cross U.S. Highway 97 near the intersection with Engh Road.

Kenneth L. George and Bret A. Stevens, both 15, were struck by a vehicle driven by Omak resident Kaitlin W. Keitzman, 18, at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, a report by Omak Police Department officer Darren Duncan said.

They both suffered minor injuries.

Keitzman, who was not injured, was traveling north on the highway when the two boys ran across the road. George and Stevens were cited for failing to yield to traffic.

Witnesses said there was not enough time for Keitzman to stop and the boys were not in the crosswalk, Duncan’s report said.

The crash dented the fender and broke the windshield of Keitzman’s vehicle.

In another Tuesday crash, a 57-year-old man suffered a minor ankle injury at 7:58 p.m. when a vehicle door hit him on Sawtell Road east of Oroville, Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said.

In the third incident, a woman was bumped by a truck at 3:15 p.m. on North Second Avenue near the Okanogan post office. She was not injured.

“Basically, the best rule for pedestrians to look before you cross, because not everyone will stop in a vehicle, even if it is the law,” Rogers aid.

For drivers, “it’s just common courtesy,” he said. “If you see someone is trying to cross the street, stop for them. You can’t be in that much of a hurry to let someone walk across the street without fear of getting hit.

“Also, when you’re driving, stay alert. People do just walk out because it is a crosswalk and if you are not paying attention, something terrible could happen – and has.”

Under state law, drivers must stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the road within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bike is within one lane of the portion of the road being used by the vehicle.

At the same time, “no pedestrian or bicycle shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk, run or otherwise move into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to stop,” the law continues.

Pedestrians crossing a road outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection must yield to all vehicles.

Fines double if the infraction is within a school, playground or crosswalks speed zone

Disabled persons are allowed to enter the road from curb ramps and cross the road within or as close to the crosswalk as possible.

Pedestrians also are not allowed to cross outside of a marked crosswalk if there are adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation, or in an unmarked crosswalk where signs prohibit crossing.


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