FOX13 Investigates increase in pedestrian fatalities in Mid-South

WATCH: FOX13 Investigates increase in pedestrian fatalities

A pedestrian was killed Saturday on Lamar Avenue, in what was the latest in a number of pedestrian deaths.

FOX13’s Winnie Wright set out to investigate if those incidents are on the rise and what’s to blame.

The answer MPD gave us was surprisingly simple.

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Friday, a pedestrian was sent to the hospital in critical condition after being hit in Parkway Village. Then Saturday, another pedestrian was run down by a car in Castalia Heights.

On Monday, FOX13 spent about five minutes looking through the Memphis Police Department Twitter feed. There, we easily found 10 instances of pedestrians being hit by cars in the last six months.

"The number right now we're looking at is 28 pedestrian fatalities for 2018,” said Col. Samuel Hines with MPD’s traffic unit.

FOX13 caught up with him Tuesday at a distracted driving event. He explained year-to-date last year, that number was 25 – a 12 percent increase.

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"I think the biggest contributing factor is that people are not crossing at the crosswalks,” Hines said.

One major spot jaywalking is present is outside 201 Poplar downtown. Tuesday was no different.

In the five minutes or so FOX13 stood outside the building, we saw more than a dozen people jaywalking, including several court security officers.

"It usually occurs on the weekends, towards the end of the week, because there's lots of bars and restaurants down this street. Plenty of people get drunk and don't worry about the cars,” Sierra Reschke said.

She has spent the last year-and-a-half working in an area also frequented by jaywalkers: Overton Square.

"Plenty of times I hear honking throughout the day. People will just be running across not minding at all," said Reschke.

Hines told FOX13 16 of the fatality cases were hit and runs. He said the responsibility is shared.

"We have drivers that don't have drivers’ licenses and insurance. We can also look at that as a contributing factor because that driver shouldn't have been behind the wheel,” he said.

For drivers, Hines said don't be distracted, pay attention to your surroundings.

And pedestrians, use the crosswalks, wear light and reflective clothing, and don't try to cross roads with three or more lanes of traffic.