Despite recent fatalities, city won't crack down on jaywalking
Reporter: Jessica Chapin
TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - Crossing the street shouldn't be a live-threatening situation, but in Tucson, more people are dying doing just that. Deadly pedestrian accidents are up from 12 to 18 this year, many of which involve jaywalkers.
Thursday, 56-year-old Daryl Chee died of his injuries after he was hit by a car near Grant and 3rd street December 23rd. Police say he was not in a crosswalk and was jaywalking.
Chee's fate is a risk many people are still willing to take.
"Do I want to walk all the way up to the crosswalk or do I just want to cross, and usually you just want to get to where you want to go quickly," said Jim Ayers, who admitted he jaywalked to the gun store while his wife was shopping.
Others know the risks first-hand, like Thomas Tadlock.
"I always use the crosswalks now, a couple years back I was hit by a car," he said, "jaywalking is not such a good idea especially if crosswalks are nearby. It's not worth getting hit by a car, I can honestly say that."
Raul Arizmendi says he uses crosswalks because he knows his limits.
"I'm using the crosswalk because I don't want to be hit,' he said, "I move a little bit slower than most people but I have to be cautious, I can't run across the street."
9 On Your Side went to city council member Steve Kozachik to ask what the city was doing, if anything, to prevent these kinds of accidents. His response indicated they weren't.
"We do what we can with the resources we have," he said, "We've cut 20 percent out of TPD's budget in the last two years. That's $10 million and that means service. That means eyes on the street and that means boots on the street."
Without eyes on the street, Kozachik says people will have to look out for themselves, pedestrians and drivers.
"If you're behind the wheel of a car or if you're a pedestrian or a bike rider, watch out," he said, "You're responsible for your own behavior."
Penalties for jaywalking include fines which could be in excess of $200. While TPD was unavailable to talk about their enforcement tactics, Kozachik says the University of Arizona police will be cracking down on traffic violations during the beginning of the school semester, as they do every year.