Jaywalking Continues Day After Second Auto-Pedestrian Death Near Homeless Resource Center
SOUTH SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the second death and fourth auto-pedestrian crash in roughly a month within blocks of the new homeless resource center, police pledged Friday night to step up enforcement of pedestrian safety laws.
On Saturday, officers were doing just that as jaywalkers took their chances along a stretch of 3300 South.
One officer stationed near 1000 West said he warned about a dozen people over a four-hour period, but several of the homeless who stayed at the resource center said they expected the risky road behavior to continue.
“To be honest with you, I don’t think people really, you know, care,” said Brandon Winter. “They’re just going to do whatever is easier and quicker, I think.”
Winter said he believed a “majority” of the people staying at the resource center cross in the middle of the block as opposed to one of the controlled intersections in the area.
“A lot of times guys come home at night and it’s cold,” Winter said. “We just want to cross the street to get in and get out of the cold.”
Winter said he was nearby during Friday night’s crash, in which South Salt Lake Police said 67-year-old Duane Nebeker crossed from the north curb of 3300 South near 1000 West to the south curb and was struck by a 22-year-old driver in an eastbound car.
“I heard a thud and I turned around and there was a body on the ground,” Winter said. “(It) kind of shook me a little bit—felt bad for the guy to be honest with you.”
South Salt Lake Police Executive Officer Gary Keller said Friday night’s collision was the third since Christmas night in the area of 3300 South involving someone believed to be homeless.
A fourth auto-pedestrian crash in the area left a man dead on Nov. 26.
“It’s getting out of control—these people are crossing anytime, anywhere,” Keller said.
Kat Kahn, director of development at The Road Home, said the organization was “deeply saddened” to learn of the deaths of one of its guests Friday night.
“The safety of our guests remains our number one priority,” Kahn stated in an email to KSL. “We diligently work to educate them on the safe routes. We will do everything in our power to work with law enforcement, UDOT and South Salt Lake City to improve the safety of this dangerous intersection.”
Paul Gibby, who received a warning after jaywalking near 1000 West Saturday afternoon, said he appreciated the concern from police.
“Nobody’s watching for pedestrians right there, but it’s a pretty bad place to be crossing, I guess,” he said.
Earlier in the week, city councilmember Corey Thomas said officials with South Salt Lake City and the Utah Department of Transportation were looking at what could be done in the area.
Winter said he was more inclined now to go out of his way to the intersection at 900 West and hoped something could be constructed closer to the resource center soon.
“It’d be nice if the city put in a crosswalk right here and a light,” Winter said. “It’s definitely pretty nerve-racking.”
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