'For every crosswalk, people just need to slow down'

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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- On Monday, friends and family of Cottage Grove local Claudia Kimery placed a memorial at the crosswalk where she was hit and killed two days earlier.

"I was on the bus coming from Eugene when I got the call that something had happened to my grandma," said Kimery's grandson, Robert Johnson. "The bus dropped me off and she was still laying there in the street, covered up. It's not fair she's gone now... like she loved life, she loved everything."

The 74-year-old was hit twice while walking in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Highway 99 and Geer. Ave, a short distance from the Cottage Grove Connector.

Officials said that both drivers left the scene before officers arrived. The driver of the first car turned herself in a short time later. Police arrested Wendy Beard over the weekend on suspicion of hit and run.

Since 2008, the Oregon Department of Transportation said there have been two recorded vehicle-pedestrian crashes in the crosswalk. ODOT spokesperson Rick Little said Saturday's crash was the first fatal.

City Manager Richard Meyers said this isn't the first time the intersection has raised safety concerns. He feels it would be best to have the East Connector meet Hwy 99 in a T-intersection.

"Not just stop signs, but a light. If you did that then you'd have crosswalks as well that'd be signalized there," said Meyers. "For every crosswalk, people just need to slow down and pay attention."

In 2009 the city asked ODOT for a safer crosswalk. Rick Little said they will be awaiting new requests from the city and will investigate what, if anything needs to be done.

Johnson said Claudia's family has a request for anyone on the road.

"Slow down and be aware, don't be in a hurry. You being in a hurry might take someone else's life... or your own," said Johnson.