News 12 at 11 / Wednesday, April 23, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been a deadly couple of weeks for people trying to cross the road in Richmond County.
In a span of ten days, four people were hit, three of them killed. In most cases, it wasn't the drivers' fault. Now, deputies are keeping a closer eye on people on foot.
"Here they go," mumbled Lt. Ramone Lamkin, as he watched a man try to gauge an opening in the heavy traffic on Wrightsboro Road.
It's like watching a game of dodgeball, only the balls are cars and the stakes are much higher.
"These pedestrians, they're risking their lives," Sgt. Shane McDaniel stated plainly.
Crossing highways and roadways without a crosswalk is a deadly move that's already sent three people to their grave and has one still fighting for his life.
"If a vehicle is coming 55 - 60 mph, you can't run that fast," Lt. Lamkin said.
After three fatal accidents crossing three different roadways, deputies have had enough.
"We see the pattern. We see what's happening, and we're taking the bull by the horns," McDaniel said.
"Both of y'all come here, both of y'all come here," Deputy Bennerman commanded a couple jaywalkers. "I need y'all to go down to the next intersection. I'm serious we're cracking down on that. We're tired of people getting hit and killed by cars, OK?"
Wednesday afternoon, News 12 got a front row seat as people dodged cars to cross the street only to get hit with a ticket on the other side.
"I'm gonna write you a citation for improper crossing. We're going to start giving citations for everyone coming down Wrightsboro Road," Bennerman said.
"We'd rather have somebody pay a ticket than go to a funeral," Lt. Lamkin reasoned.
They're aggressive new measures to keep people safe but obviously needed. After only 15 minutes along Wrightsboro Road, we saw 5 people running across the five lanes of busy traffic, putting the crosser and the drivers in danger.
"You also have to take into account the person operating that vehicle. They're just riding down the road, and now you have to live with somebody who, it's not your fault, but somebody died by your vehicle," Lamkin said.
So, the message is simple.
"Go to a crosswalk. Do not cross the road," Lamkin said.
One jaywalker protested, "I gotta walk way down there and walk way up there?"
"It aint but a few extra steps man," Bennerman replied.
It's a few extra steps to make sure the one you take aren't your last.
Richmond County isn't the only looking for jaywalkers. They've partnered with the Board of Education Public Safety, GRU, the Marshall's Office, and Georgia State Patrol. So, if you're going to cross the road, find a crosswalk.