School Janitor Tyrone Patrick is Killed on Jefferson Avenue in Newport News

Jefferson Avenue in Newport News is one of the most hazardous roads in Tidewater for pedestrians. I was saddened to read about how it has claimed yet another victim.

Police said Tyrone Patrick, a popular 54-year-old janitor was struck by four vehicles at an intersection on Jefferson Avenue. Our thoughts are with his family at this tragic time.

The 54-year-old had been part of the custodial team at Woodside High School for two years. Newport News School spokesperson Michelle Price told he was “very well-liked” and will be missed.

He died after he was hit by cars just before 9.30 p.m. last Friday on the last day of school, close to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Shields Road.

Residents said the road is a pedestrian-unfriendly area that lacks sidewalks and lighting.

Patrick and his colleagues were in the news in October 2014 when the school board honored them with a “cleanest school” award, WAVY reported.

An investigation into this shocking crash is ongoing. Police said three drivers remained on the scene but the driver of a dark four-door sedan fled. The vehicle is likely to have front-end damage.

We have written in the past about how Hampton Roads is unfriendly to pedestrians. Cities such as Newport News and Virginia Beach were built with the motorist in mind and pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed out. Fast moving urban highways like Jefferson Avenue lack crosswalks and are wide and busy roads that are difficult to cross.  

Pedestrians often have rights if they are hit by cars, particularly at intersections and on crosswalks or even drivers are speeding or leave the scene. I am particularly concerned about the appalling pedestrian accident rate of Jefferson Avenue,a road that cuts a community in half but is very difficult to cross.

Every year pedestrians lose their lives on Jefferson Avenue. In Virginia, pedestrians are the subject of rules that relate to the use of crosswalks, sidewalks, roadways, and highways.  Pedestrians have the right of way on Virginia’s sidewalks, and are supposed to walk on them instead of the roadway if one is present.  If there is no sidewalk, you should always make sure you stay on the far left either facing oncoming traffic or on the shoulder if it is wide enough to provide safe passage.

If you have lost a loved one in a pedestrian accident in Newport News, Virginia Beach or elsewhere in Hampton Roads, call us at (757) 455-0077.

Jim Hurley

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