WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Two pedestrians were killed after being struck by cars in West Hartford in just 24 hours.
Another was struck over the weekend. The first incident happened on Saturday on South Main Street around 1 p.m. The pedestrian was sent to the hospital with serious injuries but is expected to survive.
On Tuesday around 5 p.m., 89-year-old Eugenia Yurovksy was struck and killed on Whiting Lane before the driver fled the scene. Police are still searching for the driver that they believe was driving a white sedan.
On Wednesday night, exactly 24 hours later, a pedestrian was hit by a car on Mohegan Driver. That person was brought to the hospital in critical condition. The driver in that incident remained on the scene.
Police learned Thursday that the pedestrian, identified as 60-year-old Carlos Galarza, of Bridgeport, had died.
“The trend that we usually see this time of year is that as the days get shorter and people are out shopping more, we see a lot more pedestrian fatalities and also as the drivers behind the wheel are more intoxicated or more tired due to the shorter days, we see a lot more pedestrian fatalities,” said Erick Jackson, Executive Director of Connecticut Transportation Institute.
Eric Jackson from the Connecticut Transportation Institute says the recent incidents in West Hartford align with the statewide trend.
“We are up 23% over our five-year average,” Jackson said. “When we look back, it’s basically the 1980s before we see pedestrian fatalities this high.”
This week, the statewide number of pedestrian fatalities rose to 68 deaths this year. Aside from data, the institute researches incidents to find ways drivers and pedestrians can be more cautious.
For drivers, they say to take it slower, especially as the sun sets and at night when it’s more difficult to see. Drivers are also told to look for pedestrians and check both sides of the street near crosswalks. Also, do not drive impaired as the institute says more drivers involved in pedestrian accidents are impaired or driving distracted.
For pedestrians, the institute says being visible is key and suggests wearing something reflective when walking at night. Always look in both directions when crossing the street and make sure a vehicle is stopped before you cross. Pedestrians should also make sure the car sees you, and when possible, use a crosswalk and flashing pedestrian signs.
“A car versus a pedestrian, the pedestrian is always going to lose,” Jackson said. “It’s both parties that need to take responsibility, but certainly drivers need to slow down, watch out for pedestrians and not drive impaired.”
Police are still asking any witnesses or anyone with surveillance video of the incidents to reach out to the department.