Woman killed pushing groceries in Milwaukee crosswalk, 24th pedestrian fatality in 2016

Wisconsin Bike Fed
A man attempting to make a left-hand turn ahead of oncoming traffic killed an 83-year-old German immigrant pushing a grocery cart with fruits and vegetables across E. Lincoln Ave., within a block of her senior living apartment, according to witness accounts of the crash at a busy Bay View intersection.

The fatal crash about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday continues a dangerous trend of increasing deaths among people walking on Wisconsin streets, and motorist failures that contribute to the toll.

Christa Pittman, who lived in the Lincoln Court apartments, became the 24th person killed while walking in the state this year and another casualty of a motorist who appeared to ignore the right-of-way.

Witnesses told police Pittman was walking southbound, in the crosswalk, with the right-of-way, when the driver attempted to make a left-hand turn onto E. Lincoln Ave., going westbound. Those who saw the crash reported it seemed the driver was trying to beat oncoming traffic to make the turn, at roughly 25 miles per hour.

The impact threw Pittman 10 to 15 feet. She died within an hour of the collision.

Pittman’s death tragically highlights the importance of driving slowly and cautiously, especially in urban areas.

Researchers have found that someone hit by a car going 20 mph has a 90 percent chance of surviving. Increase the speed to 30 mph, and the survival odds drop to 50 percent. A car or truck going 40 mph will kill someone in nine out of 10 crashes.

The number of people killed while walking in Wisconsin dropped to a low of 35 in 2009, and has been rising since. In 2015, 54 people walking to stores, homes and for exercise were hit and killed by vehicles in the state.

In a three-year span covering 2011, 2012 and 2013, more than 40 people were killed in crosswalks by people who failed to yield, according to an analysis of crash reports by Robert Schneider, an assistant professor and traffic safety researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Driver errors accounted for 65% of deaths in crosswalks at intersections over that span, Schneider found, in his analysis of more than 8,000 crash reports. He conducted his research for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Safety, and the Wisconsin Bike Fed Share and Be Aware Program.




5 thoughts on “Woman killed pushing groceries in Milwaukee crosswalk, 24th pedestrian fatality in 2016

  1. Thank you to Tom and the Bike Fed for covering this important issue. People walking have rights, and face risks and concerns from people driving, just like people bicycling do. We need to drive more carefully.

  2. Another recent pedestrian death was a woman killed in the crosswalk of Whitefish Bay. I am amazed that someone does not get killed every day in Whitefish Bay alone. Stopping for stop signs here (as almost everywhere else) is the exception, not the rule. Pretty much every traffic light change involves a car running a red light. It is rare to see a car allow a pedestrian to cross in a crosswalk. There is no police enforcement of any traffic rules whatsoever. About half of the drivers on Silver Spring are texting. Every day, I see near misses. I expect another death soon.

    Is there any way families of victims can pursue some sort of class-action suit against municipalities for failure to protect the public? If you can stand at an intersection and see egregious, dangerous violations occurring every few minutes, it seems as though you could. Irresponsible driving has been allowed to become the norm.

    • My daughter was run over by a dump truck at the zoo interchange. I am still trying to get a lawyer who can “afford” to take the case. There were lots of witnesses, and it was at the zoo interchange. There should be pedestrian walkways there, they never should have a 6-12 lane hwy in front of a zoo, where parents are walking with their children. The city needs to build that pedestrian walkway, but no one will take the case because the light was red when she was in front of the truck, who should have been 15 feet behind the crosswalk so he would have seen her.

  3. Is there a way to contact whatever DA is assigned this case in advance, and ask that the witnesses be believed. or the rights of the dead person be considered? Historically, these cases are simply just tossed aside. The driver pretends to be sorry, and then it’s rare for that driver to killed someone to even be threatened with more than a ticket.

  4. In 2009, over 16% of pedestrian fatalities were of people over the age of 65. On average, people outlive their ability to drive by 6-10 years. What are their choices after they are forced to or choose to no longer drive? If we truly want to have communities where people can continue to live as they age, we need to address safety of pedestrian ways.

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