Pedestrians, drivers need to be aware, alert to surroundings

In 2008 alone, Manlius police have dealt with three car-pedestrian accidents resulting in fatalities. The most recent of which happened Dec. 11 outside the Cavalry Club on Troop K Road. An elderly couple from Jamesville was struck by a Subaru Forester while crossing the road to reach the parking lot. The vehicle was driven by 25-year-old David Brounoff of Manlius who was heading southeast towards Route 173 and said he had looked down to turn on the defroster and didn't see them until it was too late.

James Stone, 75, was pronounced dead at the scene; his wife was taken to Upstate Medical Center where her condition has been upgraded from critical to fair. No charges were filed as the investigation is ongoing.

In November, Sharon Mitchell, 61, was struck by a pick-up truck and killed while crossing East Genesee Street; and in April, 80-year-old Mary Day succumbed to head injuries after being hit by a vehicle turning right onto Fayette Street from Arkie Albanese Avenue.

According to Captain Bill Bleyle of the Manlius Police Department, each case had a recurring theme: driver inattention.

"It takes only one second," Bleyle said. "When you're moving along at 40 miles per hour and you take your eyes off the road, you're not expecting people to step out in front of you but it does happen."

Talking on cell phones, texting while driving, eating, drinking, reading and so on are actions witnessed time and time again not only by police officers, but citizens as well.

"When you hit someone, there is no mercy," Bleyle said. "You should be doing nothing but driving because all it takes is for the right combination of circumstances to occur and you're in the wrong place at the wrong time."

New York state law requires drivers to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, however, that law is often violated. According to Fayetteville Village Trustee Chris Randall, the village of Fayetteville has received numerous complaints about drivers, even though reminders in the forms of newsletters and police campaigns promote awareness.

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