Pedestrians hit on Hwy. 28 in Kings Beach
For the second time in six months, pedestrians trying to cross the highway in Kings Beach were hit by a vehicle.
On Sunday two women crossing Highway 28 just west of Bear Street were struck by a 2004 Ford Explorer, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Rick Washabaugh.
Pedestrians Fattouma Azali of San Mateo and Sakina Lamghari of Sacramento were injured in the accident. Azali was flown by helicopter to Washoe Medical Center in Reno with head lacerations and a fractured pelvis. And Lamghari was taken by ambulance to Tahoe Forest Hospital with complaints of hip pain.
Westbound driver Linda Guasco, 66, of Kenwood, who struck the pedestrians, was uninjured.
The speed of the SUV was not released by the CHP. The accident occurred in a 30 mile per hour zone. The incident is still under investigation.
Kings Beach resident Jeff Pritchard has noticed the unsafe mix of pedestrians and fast-moving vehicles on Highway 28 for a while. Unlike in other North Shore communities where traffic flows in one lane each direction, the highway through Kings Beach has four lanes.
“People are speeding through town and the speed is just increasing,” Pritchard said. “People blow through these crosswalks all the time.”
This incident is the second of its nature this year. On Jan. 8, 25-year-old Kevin Gorchinski of Sacramento struck and killed Tahoma resident Linda Marie Fernandez while she was walking in a crosswalk. Fernandez’s boyfriend Jeremy Virgo was also hit by Gorchinski’s Honda, but survived with broken bones.
Gorchinski faces manslaughter charges in a Tahoe court hearing on July 10.
In order for a problem area to be addressed there has to be a “significant accident history,” said Caltrans spokesman Mark Dinger. The California Highway Patrol forwards accident reports to Caltrans to compile the data regarding location and nature of incidents.
For example, Caltrans had reports of four pedestrian-involved accidents between Tahoe Vista and the state line in 2005. Of the four incidents, one of those occurred at Highway 28 and Bear Street, across from the Kings Beach State Recreation Area.
There is typically a six- to eight-month lag time in data compilation, according to Caltrans. But safety projects can be put on the fast track within a year.
“If there’s a trend being spotted, it pops up right away,” Dinger said. “[Traffic engineers] go back out to study [the crosswalks] and take precise counts, find the busy time of day, consider removing the crosswalks, put in signals.”
” The Sierra Sun’s David Bunker contributed to this report.
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