INDIANAPOLIS — The busy eastbound lanes of East Washington Street came to a stop Monday afternoon when 66-year-old Michael Allen was hit and killed while riding a scooter.
“It was a seated, motorized scooter. It had a basket and all of that on it,” said officer Samone Burris with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Burris said Allen was trying to cross Washington Street, just a few blocks south of Mitthoefer Road, when he was hit.
“Unfortunately, that was not at a crosswalk where there were painted lines in the middle of the street,” Burris said.
There was a crosswalk just a few hundred feet down at the next intersection.
David Dawson walks to the bus stop near where Allen was hit on East Washington. He said people are always crossing the street without going to a crosswalk.
“It’s pretty much like the game Frogger,” Dawson said.
This is the fourth time someone outside a car has been hit and killed on East Washington since July of last year.
”East Washington Street is a highway,” said Damon Richards. “It’s old U.S. 40, and it was built to move cars fast, and it’s still doing that.”
Richards is the executive director of Bike Indianapolis and a member of the Fatal Crash Review Board in Indianapolis.
Several times a year, the group meets to go over fatal crashes and see if the areas where those crashes happened can be improved.
“Is there something about the way we built this piece of the city that contributed to this fatality, and if so, how do we fix it?” Richard said.
The group met Tuesday afternoon to go over the crashes from November and December. Each meeting, they review fatal crashes that are no longer active IMPD investigations.
Richards said they only had 10 crashes to look over for this meeting, which is their lowest number at any meeting since the group started in July. But six of those 10 crashes were pedestrians.
Washington Street is the site of the IndyGo Blue Line project, which would include infrastructure improvements and increased accessibility. However, an Indy Go spokesperson said the project is still in the design phase, and there are funding gaps that need to be addressed.
In the meantime, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works has installed some “no turn on red” signs to East Washington to try and calm traffic.
IMPD encourages everyone to use the crosswalks already in place.
“Using the crosswalk, being able to be at that stoplight, it will save lives,” Burris said.
Burris said the investigation into Allen’s death is still open, but charges are not expected against the driver at this time.