FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - UPDATE: The man who was hit in the intersection of Lafayette Street and E. Paulding Road on Wednesday morning has been identified as Thomas Highlen, 56, of Fort Wayne.
A man is in critical condition after being hit in the intersection of Lafayette Street and E. Paulding Road just before 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
After speaking to witnesses, police told NewsChannel 15 that the man was walking west through the intersection of Lafayette Street and E. Paulding Road toward Bishop Luers High School. When he starting crossing, he had the right of way, but halfway across the light changed, police said.
It's at that same time that a car going south was approaching the intersection and continued through because the light was now green.
There are four lanes at that intersection: a left turn lane, two straight lanes and a right turn lane. Police said there were cars that were stopped for the red light in the left straight lane. Those cars, officers said, blocked the pedestrian from the driver's view. She was in the right straight lane.
The victim has severe head injuries and is in critical condition. Police said the man was described as an "older" man and said the victim is not a Bishop Luers student.
The woman who was driving the silver Pontiac Grand Prix that struck the pedestrian was taken to a hospital for a drug and alcohol test. Police do not think drugs or alcohol were involved, but the test is standard protocol.
Southbound Lafayette Street was closed between and E. Pettit Avenue and East Paulding Road as police worked to clear the scene but has since reopened.
NewsChannel 15 wanted to find out if that intersection is "accident-prone." According to Fort Wayne Police Department records, so far this year, there have been 9 crashes there, two of which had injuries. In 2012, there were eight crashes as of September 11, one of which had injuries. And, in 2011, as of September 11, there were 8 crashes at Lafayette and Paulding.
According to the Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council, the intersection is not dangerous. NIRCC, a semi-federal agency that works with regional transportation planning, compiles crash data from all police agencies. It said in all of last year there were 16 crashes at Lafayette and Paulding. In 2011, there were 12 crashes and eight crashes in 2010.
But, to put that in perspective, the intersection had a crash rating of 1.8. That is the number of crashes per one million vehicles that entered the intersection. National standards say an intersection with a crash rating of two or more is considered hazardous, Jerry Foust, senior transportation planner at NIRCC, said.
Foust further explained that out of the 350 intersections in Allen County that had seven or more crashes in 2012, Lafayette and Paulding was ranked 103, with number one having the most crashes.
"[Lafayette and Paulding] is not what would be defined by federal highway standards as hazardous," Foust said.
NewsChannel 15 also learned more about how pedestrian signals are timed. Spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Transportation Mary Foster said when the signal starts flashing, it's timed for a person walking at 3.5 feet per second to make it all the way across.
Foster explained that the walk signal crossing Lafayette Street at Paulding gives pedestrians seven seconds of "walk time" and then starts flashing and counting down at 29 seconds.
"Pedestrians are not supposed to start walking when it's already flashing," Foster said.
But, if a person were to step into the intersection at the same time as the signal starts to flash, they should have enough time to clear the intersection if they walked at a normal pace. Using 3.5 feet per second to time the flashing signal is a national standard based on the average stride of a typical adult.
However, in Wednesday's crash, it's not clear when the man crossing the street started to cross, if he saw the traffic signal turn green, or if he saw the oncoming car.
"I can't answer what he was thinking," Michael Joyner, spokesperson for the Fort Wayne Police Department, said. "[I don't know] if he noticed that the light had cycled or at what point he attempted to cross the intersection, but had he noticed, the best thing to have done is to stay in the middle until a point where he could have crossed safely."
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