Safer conditions for pedestrians is a concern for riders at a bus stop on Ohio 741 where authorities say a 72-year-old Dayton man on Saturday night was struck and killed.
Mike Lynn said his bus arrived at the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority stop at West Alex Bell Road shortly after the wreck that killed Edward Lee Owens while he was waiting to be picked up.
“Chaos,” is how Lynn described the scene just after authorities said Sandra Lynn Rowe’s pick-up truck hit Owens about 6:15 p.m., shortly after nightfall.
“It was scary,” Lynn said. “That could have been me.”
Charges are expected to be filed against Rowe, 59, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has said. Specific charges against the Dayton resident — who was arrested Saturday and then released from custody — will be up to prosecutors, OSHP Lt. Mark Nichols has said.
Rowe has no criminal record, according to court records examined by the Dayton Daily News.
Meanwhile, Lynn said, at the bus stop he tries to protect himself standing as far back as he can while still being visible to bus drivers.
Fellow bus rider Franklin McCray said he feels unsafe as well. He said “they need to put sidewalks (in) – either that or curbs.”
Increasing pedestrian safety on the state route has been a focus of Miami Twp. in recent years.
A $1.8 million project to install sidewalks and a bike path on Lyons Road and Ohio 741 began in October. It will add asphalt and concrete paths along Lyons Road from Byers Road — including across the overpass to I-75 — to the state route, where a sidewalk will be added on the west side across from the mall, officials said.
But in a statement released by the RTA, Chief Executive Officer Mark Donaghy said pedestrian accommodations by the bus stop where Owens was hit are inadequate.
“This area is one of many in our region in which developments are built without appropriate consideration of the needs of pedestrians and public transit riders and (we) encourage communities to adopt complete streets principles in their building and zoning codes,” Donaghy said in the statement.
Highway patrol investigators are still compiling a report of the wreck, which was ruled an accident, according to preliminary findings of the coroner’s office.
But Rowe’s truck “drove off the right berm and struck the pedestrian who was waiting at the bus stop,” Sgt. Richard Dixon on the highway patrol’s Springfield Post has said.
Rowe was arrested Saturday night and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of aggravated vehicular homicide before being released, according to the Miami Valley Jail website.
Owens’ death was the second pedestrian killed by a vehicle on Ohio 741 in the past month. There have been at least four other pedestrian fatalities in Montgomery County this year.
Statewide, pedestrian deaths have steadily increased annually the past five years, going from 88 in 2013 to 145 in 2017, according to the state patrol data.