Lubbock Police tell EverythingLubbock.com they are investigating an incident on September 2 where a pedestrian south of the intersection at 50th and Avenue Q was hit by a police vehicle making a U-turn.
Portia Knox said she was the pedestrian who was hit in that accident, she shared with us her account of what happened:
“Friday between the hours of 4 and 5, I was getting ready to go across the street to United [Supermarkets], I was crossing from Walgreens to United, I was looking across the street to make sure it was clear for me to cross, on my side it was completely clear,” Knox recounted. “So I walked to the center turn lane and I was waiting for traffic to clear on the other side when all of a sudden this policeman made a U-turn and hit me with his car and knocked me down.”
Assistant Chief Jon Caspell with Lubbock Police shared this account of what happened according to LPD records.
“It appears the officer was southbound on Avenue Q somewhere in the area, he gets into the left turn lane and is going to make a legal U-turn to turn back northbound, the pedestrian is crossing from east to west just behind where the officer is making a U-turn and just after he made the U-turn they met right there,” Caspell said.
Knox said the officer immediately pulled over and checked on her to see if she was ok. She said the officer walked her to the side of the street where she waited for an ambulance to arrive. Knox said she had injuries to her arm, her neck, and her back.
She said that other officers then arrived on scene and began taking pictures of both the police officer’s vehicle and her injuries. Knox was then transported to UMC for treatment, she was released several hours later after a few MRI’s and prescriptions for pain medications.
Knox worries not only for her self, but the other people who cross at that same location just down the street from the intersection, During a period over an hour on Tuesday, EverythingLubbock.com saw twelve people crossing the street at the same location Knox did.
Now she is saddled with lingering pain and hospital bills she can’t afford.
“A lot of people that cross right there because people catch the bus there every day and it’s just something that really needs to be taken care of,” Knox said.
She added that she is grateful that the officer stopped to make sure she was alright.
“We’re not trying to get anybody in trouble we’re just trying to get the word out about this, because there a lot of people who cross right there,” said her husband Charles Knox.
They explained that many people catch the bus at the area where Knox crossed and will likely continue to cross in the area. Charles Knox wondered if the city would consider putting a cross walk in at that location.
“I understand they have to do their civic duty, but their civic duty is to protect us, but if they make a U-turn out of no where and hit us, they are not protecting us,” Portia Knox said.
She wonders why the officer didn’t see her as he was making a U-Turn.
But according to police, because Knox was crossing where there was no crosswalk, their preliminary investigations show that she is at fault.
“It appears she was not crossing in accordance with state law, and that’s probably going to be an overbearing factor here, pretty much any time there’s a pedestrian crossing the street whether or not they’re supposed to state law is going to find they’re a contributing factor to the accident,” explained Caspell.
There is a cross walk at 50th and Avenue Q., up the street from where Knox crossed. When EverythingLubbock.com went out to the intersection today, the crosswalk markings on the street weren’t clear. We showed an image of the crosswalk to Wood Franklin, Director of Public Works for the City of Lubbock, who said that it appears the pedestrian crossing markings have not been repainted after paving improvements in the area. The pedestrian crossing buttons at that intersection are, however, operational. Franklin added that when crossing a seven-lane thoroughfare, it’s always best to use a crosswalk with signals.
“When an accident like this happens, when as a matter of convenience or efficiency someone chooses to cross somewhere other than a designated area, they are going to be found at fault for the accident,” Caspell explained.
Lubbock Police now how ongoing investigations into both the accident and the traffic laws surrounding it.
Caspell added that accidents like this may spark future changes.
“We’ll go back and we’ll look at periodic data to see if there’s a problem with traffic patterns, and if there’s something that we need to work with traffic engineering to see if maybe a stop sign belongs here or maybe a cross walk belongs there,” he said.