Vancouver police seek potential witnesses to fatal crosswalk accident

By John Branton, Columbian Staff Reporter

Published:

Updated: January 18, 2012, 8:18 PM

 

Vancouver police are hoping to speak with the drivers of two cars whose occupants may have witnessed a fatal traffic accident on East Mill Plain Boulevard in the McLoughlin Heights area on Dec. 29.

About 5 p.m. that evening, pedestrian Steve Hunt, 51, of Vancouver was crossing Mill Plain in or near the crosswalk in the 6500 block of Mill Plain, between the First Independent Bank branch and the 76 gas station and convenience store.

He was struck by a dark-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Mary Riley, 60, of Vancouver, according to the Vancouver Police Department. Police said Riley stopped after hitting Hunt and is cooperating with the investigation. Police don’t believe alcohol, drugs or speeding were involved.

The accident is under investigation by Officer Ryan Martin with the Traffic Unit, which deals with serious accidents. No ticket has been issued, Martin said Wednesday.

The crosswalk signal is activated by pressing a switch, which then provides a verbal warning to pedestrians to be careful. It also turns on two overhead yellow flashers for both east- and westbound drivers. One person who works at the 76 store told The Columbian the crosswalk is “not effective.” The store’s owner suggested a red light there might be an improvement.

Martin said Wednesday evening that witnesses saw a white car behind the Jeep that hit Hunt and another vehicle that had been alongside it. Police need to know what those drivers may have seen.

Anyone who saw the accident, or knows the drivers of the two vehicles or what happened just before the accident is asked to call Martin at 360-487-7479.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.