Couple Hit at Busy Redding Intersection; City Plans for Safety Improvements

REDDING, Calif. -  Many people are questioning the safety of a Redding crosswalk after an elderly couple was hit.

Investigators said a red 2007 Toyota Prius, driven by Beverly Johnson, 74, of Redding, was traveling westbound on Cypress when it hit David Burton, 75, and Virginia Burton, 71, who were walking in a marked crosswalk.

It happened just after 6 p.m. Friday on East Cypress Avenue near Rosemary Drive.

The couple was using a legal crosswalk, but it did not have a stoplight.

Redding's Assistant Director of Public Works, Chuck Aukland, said that California Vehicle Code states that the pedestrian, no matter where they are crossing, has the right of way.

He said in the general area of Friday's incident, there have been eight people hit, who were either walking or on a bike, in the last six years.

As a result, the city filed for a Highway Safety Improvement Program Grant in 2011. They found out in December that they got that grant.

Aukland said the city plans on making that crosswalk safer by adding a pedestrian island, flashing lights while its being used, streetlights and more curbs and medians to prevent some turns.

He said regardless of how safe an intersection might appear, you should always be aware.

"Pedestrians need to make sure that they make eye contact with the driver; make sure they're slowing down," Aukland said. "In particular at night, don't assume that a car, just because they have headlights on you, that they can see you. You really need to make sure that they are slowing down, that they're aware that you're there and that you can cross safely."

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