IMPD: 25 pedestrians killed annually by vehicles

INDIANAPOLIS - Police said the number of people killed by motor vehicles over the past year stayed consistent with data from recent years.

IMPD's crash investigation division said about half of the 25 deaths each year involved a driver who left the scene.

The numbers come near the same time as the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2017 nationwide. The GHSA said the numbers are likely tied to smart phone and marijuana use while behind the wheel.

IMPD Sgt. Doug Heustis, who is part of the team that investigates any crash where someone is killed, said 31 of the deaths over the last two years involved an action by the pedestrian that led to their death.

“Generally, that means you have a pedestrian in the street," he said. "Not at a crosswalk.”

Of the 50 people killed in 2016 and 2017, 41 of them were killed at night.

Five people were killed somewhere along Washington Street and five more along interstates in Marion County. Another three people were killed along Morris Street.

After each death, police will review the scene and driving conditions with other city employees, to determine if something could be added to the area to eliminate crashes. However, many times infrastructure won't make a difference, based off the crash officials are reviewing.

“If you have a drunk driver, who goes off the road or you have a pedestrian in dark clothes who crosses a dark street, that’s difficult to develop an engineering plan or infrastructure plan to overcome," Heustis said.

The national numbers come as a surprise to the family of Indianapolis' latest pedestrian fatality.

Joseph Nordstrom, an active member of the Army National Guard, was walking with Angela Ruhlig when they were hit by a vehicle early Saturday morning along Southeastern Avenue. Nordstrom died from the incident.

“We feel the pain that they have," said Nordstrom's brother, Jason McCoy. "Hopefully, they actually know who has hit their loved ones because we have no idea.”

Services for Nordstrom have been opened to the public, according to his family. A viewing is Friday from 2 to 8 p.m. and his funeral begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. Both will take place at 5463 Kentucky Ave.

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