Accident that claimed life of Caitlan Barton happened amid West Calhoun "safety walk"

Categories: Minneapolis
CalhounVillageCrossing.jpg
A pedestrian was hit crossing this intersection while officials took a "safety walk" in the same area.
On the evening of February 12, members of the West Calhoun Neighborhood Association, City Council Member Linea Palmisano, and Public Works engineers took part in a "safety walk" meant to evaluate "lighting deficiencies in the neighborhood as well as continuing safety and traffic concerns."

THE BACKSTORY: Caitlan Barton dies after getting hit by truck while crossing street near Lake Calhoun

But according to an Examiner.com report, as the group headed back toward Calhoun Village to wrap it up, they encountered a number of police squads in the process of blocking off a part of West Lake Street. As they'd later learn, just moments earlier a 25-year-old pedestrian named Caitlan Barton was hit by a truck when she tried to cross Lake Street where it intersects with Market Place. Barton would die from her injuries the next day.

Palmisano didn't return a voicemail seeking comment about the tragic coincidence, but she did release this statement to the Examiner on February 13:
Last night's scary incident is a very unfortunate illustration of why I've been advocating for improvements to be made for pedestrians in this corridor. It only adds to the urgency of prioritizing safety for pedestrians. There are a huge amount of workers here that leave on foot, in the dark, after stores close.

The addition of the West Lake light rail station in the future is helping to get some much needed attention to this space, and it is now considered a Pedestrian Advisory Committee priority area. Thoughts of the future LRT station should open up the potential of the county and city to make some major infrastructure improvements to this neighborhood. Thanks to one of CM Glidden's efforts with the budget last year, this is an example of a place where we could do some minor infrastructure (public works-type) improvements even without major planned roadwork happening in the very near term.
(West Calhoun Neighborhood Coordinator Rhea Sullivan also didn't return a voicemail seeking comment.)

No charges have yet been filed against the driver of the DHL box delivery truck that struck Barton -- she had the right of way when he took a right turn from Market onto westbound Lake and hit her -- but Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder told us it's only a matter of time.

"He'll face something," Elder said, adding that authorities will probably still have to wait about a month for toxicology reports to come back.

"If something comes back we know where to find him," Elder continued. "He doesn't have a history of bad behavior."

Police don't suspect the driver, who has been fully cooperative, was drunk or high at the time of the accident. Elder told us last week it's possible he simply never saw Barton before hitting her.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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18 comments
Michel Wong
Michel Wong

I live in the area and it is very dangerous. The walk signals are not long enough so one can cross safely and the intersections are dimly lite. I can see how the driver didn't see her. Very tragic and I feel bad for everyone involved. Shame on the people for blaming the voiceless victim have you people no hearts?

Prevention
Prevention

Really don't believe anyone is being insensitive and "blaming" the victim, but instead let us learn from the untimely death and just be careful. Do not just trust that everyone is watching out for you! If anything, her sad death could save lives in the future if we are willing to be honest and talk about it. If you ever try to use a crosswalk to a park or go across the street to Lake Calhoun you better look first. It is what it is.

Brock OLee
Brock OLee

@zach, be ready to have your in box overtaken with threats from this women's friends and family, they honestly can't deal with the fact that this person couldn't look both ways before crossing the road. #populationcontrol

Timothy Allen
Timothy Allen

This victim blaming is disgusting... When I took drivers ed I remember something about yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks - when did that change??

Jason Thor Carle
Jason Thor Carle

Or, people could pay attention and not step out into traffic expecting them to stop...

Mark D. Gengler
Mark D. Gengler

Ramsey, MN has had 5+ deaths in the last two years due to unsafe crossings and posted speeds too high. Mix this with inattentive drivers.... Deadly.

Zach Boyce
Zach Boyce

It's very sad she lost her life, but to all of these people demanding "change" for the intersection: what ever happened to doing what your parents and elementary teachers taught you?! Look both ways before crossing! It's not that hard. Especially in the winter when cars have less traction and response time.

Shayne O'Neil
Shayne O'Neil

One must always be diligent and aware when crossing any street.

Question
Question

I thought I read in a prior item that the walk sign was on as well as a green light. Not a good thing for both involved if that is true. Anyone have all the facts? Have to think someone is going to hit you at any moment, just as I do on my bike when on the roads or even in my car. Living in NYC taught me that. Tragic accidents happen every day and it truly is not murder as some have said. No one wants to live with the pain of events such as this. Everyone please stay off your phones when driving as well!

rellumkram
rellumkram

 I am willing to bet that DHL drivers are NOT paid by the hour.  I've heard that they are paid by the number of boxes that they deliver.  This driver was obviously in a HUGE rush - from what I've read - turned right on a red and probably didn't even stop - he certainly didn't look.  I believe this driver should be charged and made an example of so other delivery drivers SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!! I'm sorry for her and her family (also for my vulgar language) - but I believe this guy murdered a pedestrian with his truck and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law - professional drivers (anybody that drives for a living) need to become better/safer at what they do...

barbertj23
barbertj23

I frequent this location a lot as both a Pedestrian and a driver and it is extremely dangerous. It is clearly not designed for pedestrians but has a lot of foot traffic (walking on the greenway and want to grab lunch by the whole foods? Happens to me a lot) But with the buildings right to the edge of the road, and traffic feeling like it's coming from every direction (People tend to soar out of Tryg's lot to try to make the light right after a very densely trafficked split it seems for example) even with the most honest intentions it can be very difficult to see people walking about.

I think it will take a lot of work to make the area feel very safe, not just some repainting of lines.

nicole.meyers14
nicole.meyers14

I agree that something needs to be done. My fiancé and I were hit on 35th & Nicollet last year on Election Day. We also had a walk signal and the driver didn't see us. Luckily it didn't end tragically and we suffered minor injuries, but it was obvious watching for pedestrians was not on their minds.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

Wow - what an insensitive asshole you are. Reread the comments you're posting about a young girl's death. Are you really that stupid?

Onan
Onan

The truck turned into her from the left / rear.

Feel free to keep blaming the victim though...


MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

And how do you know she wasn't being aware and just didn't hear the fucking truck coming up from behind her? Or did you actually take the time to read how the accident occurred?  I'm thinking not...

barbertj23
barbertj23

@rellumkram

I totally agree with you but having friends and family who have driven trucks professionally it is not an easy job. You're often simply expected to work 12 hour days and sleep in your truck if you're a semi driver, and smaller truck drivers spend their entire day accepting that no one yields to them. I've heard stories of friends stuck at a left turn at a light for 45 minutes in congested cities.

While I don't disagree I think that safe driving is a responsibility for everyone in the sense that we all could drive safer, especially around shopping and food centers where there are a lot of people walking about.

Lyndale1
Lyndale1

@barbertj23  I almost got hit there this weekend a day or 2 after this, people are idiots and entitled in that area. 

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