Eighth pedestrian death in Henrico spurs safety concerns: ‘It’s dangerous’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — Police have identified a 57-year-old man killed while attempting to cross Nine Mile Road in Henrico County.

Police said on Friday, October 18, 2019, at around 7:20 p.m., Staccato Padgett, of Henrico County, was walking across Nine Mile Rd., near Newbridge Rd., when he was hit by a car traveling eastbound along Nine Mile Rd.

The driver of the vehicle stopped and is cooperating with authorities.

Henrico County’s crash team is investigating.

Padgett lived only a few blocks from where the crash happened.

Others who lived around the area said that stretch of Nine Mile Rd. is not pedestrian-friendly.

“The sidewalk’s right there, there’s no sidewalk over here. No crosswalk. It’s no lights. At nighttime, it’s pitch black darkness, no lights, anything. So, it is dangerous,” said Shakia, who said she had lived in the area for two years. “Another light would be perfect right there. They definitely need streetlights. Definitely. It be pitch black. It’s too dark.”

Nine Mile Rd. falls under the jurisdiction of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and a spokesperson said that section of road, between I-64 to the west and A.P. Hill Ave. to the east, is currently the subject of a Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions (STARS) study to “identify various pedestrian safety improvements.”

“The study is expected to be completed in 2020, and based on findings, a locality or transportation planning organization may choose to apply for improvements through SMART SCALE or other funding sources,” added VDOT Richmond District Communications Manager Bethanie Glover in an email.

Padgett was Henrico County’s eighth pedestrian death of 2019. There were a total of nine in 2018.

In June of this year, the county said crashes between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists have been increasing and previously had launched an awareness campaign called “Watch Your Step” to promote safer streets and tips for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

“It’s important for everyone to remember, drivers, as well as pedestrians, have a shared responsibility to getting where they need to safely,” said HCPD spokesperson Lt. Matt Pecka.

He added that until the end of October, officers will be stepping up enforcement/public awareness at crash hot spots around county as the days are becoming shorter and it gets dark quicker.

“We want to really educate the public. We want to ensure that everyone gets to where they’re going safely. Henrico police, community officers, we’re also going to be out in the neighborhoods throughout Halloween to ensure safety in the communities,” said Pecka. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 26% of pedestrian fatalities occur between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Moreover, 72% of these fatalities occurred outside of an intersection.”

Pecka said the intersections where the increased enforcement will take place around are:

    • Broad St. & Willow Lawn Dr.,
    • Staples Mill Rd. & Townhouse Rd.,
    • Broad St. near Libbie Ave.,
    • Brook Rd. between Villa Park and Parham Rd.,
    • Brook Rd. between I-95 and the city line,
    • Laburnum Ave. & Alma Ave.,
    • Nine Mile Rd. around Laburnum Ave.,
    • Williamsburg Rd. from Millers Ln. to the city line,
    • Nine Mile Rd. around Airport Dr.
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