2017 is record year for pedestrian deaths around Las Vegas valley

LAS VEGAS - This year, 2017, is on pace to be the deadliest year for pedestrians. So far, 62 people have died in wrecks, tying the highest number on record dating back to 1999.

On Tuesday, a bicyclist was killed on E. Flamingo Road near Eastern, after being struck by a van.

For law enforcement officers and community advocates, the significant spike in pedestrian deaths is a mystery.

One mother, whose son was killed crossing that same intersection is sharing her story hoping to save lives on the road.

It's been four years since the son of Sherri Bush was hit and killed by a van crossing the street outside a marked crosswalk. 
 Her son, James Spagnoli was just 26 years old when he died, and since then, she has dedicated her life to raising pedestrian safety awareness.

"I don't want anybody else to feel my heartache," Bush said. 
 "That's the main reason."

In a year that will most likely be record-setting for Clark County, Bush's message is simple: Think about your loved ones when you're on the road.

"Just drive like the one you love the most is walking across that street," said Bush.

Bush says the same philosophy goes for pedestrians.
   
The 62 people killed while walking in Clark County this year is 12 more compared to the same time last year, and 22 compared to 2015.
    
These numbers do not include incidents that happen on private property.

"I don't want to say it does surprise me," said Sgt. Richard Strader, Retired Metro Police officer. "I want to say that the problem that we have is that our people; people aren't paying attention."

Strader worked for Metro for 25 years. Seven of those years were with fatal detail, the group in charge of investigating deadly crashes.
    
He could never pinpoint one reason why road fatalities happened, but he believes there are contributing factors aside from human error, including wide roads combined with the set speed limits.

"Nobody's going to go 35 miles per hour, on a three-lane road. It's not gonna happen," Strader said.

According to Strader, road fatalities are everyone's problem. One incident can affect many people for the rest of their lives just like it affected the driver who ran over Spagnoli four years ago.
        
"My heart hurts for him," said Bush. "I can't imagine. I can't imagine hitting somebody's child."

Not long ago, she called him to apologize and say it wasn't his fault.

"It gave me peace to give him peace," Bush said. 

Community advocates say they're bracing for the remaining month and a half left in the year because they say the darker days pose a greater risk for people walking along valley roads.


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