Jaywalkers in Harlingen Subject to Class C Misdemeanor Charges
HARLINGEN – Harlingen police is searching for the driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident last week.
The accident happened Thursday night on the 1100 block of south 77 Sunshine Strip.
Harlingen officers said the driver didn’t stop to help 57-year-old Natividad Chavez after she was hit. She was taken to the hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Police said she was found in the middle of the road where there was no crosswalk. The police department is now warning people to be aware of their surroundings and walk with caution.
A CHANNEL 5 NEWS crew saw a number of people failing to use crosswalks in the city of Harlingen.
Pedestrian Jeffrey Lerma said he walks down 77 Sunshine Strip almost three times a week.
“I do think an accident could happen to me. It could happen to anyone at any time, any day,” he said.
He said he tries to avoid crossing the street, but admits he does it when he needs to.
“I know that I’m gonna get hit, so I just stick to the sidewalk,” he said.
Across town, we spotted Catalina Rodriguez crossing Tyler Ave., another potentially dangerous high traffic area in the city.
“I have to cross there. I’m gonna take more than 30 minutes to cross. The cars don’t let you cross,” she said.
Rodriguez said there’s a need for more crosswalks for pedestrians.
Harlingen Police Sgt. John Parrish said people are putting themselves in danger by not using crosswalks.
“Mainly, it’s out there for their protection. Crosswalks are designated specifically for crossing the street or even at an intersection where there’s a four-way stop sign. That would be a little safer,” he said.
He said people could face a Class C misdemeanor charge and a $500 fine if caught crossing the street without using a crosswalk.
“Anytime we see a particular area that’s causing an issue – if there’s a lot of accidents or issues in a particular incident, we are gonna address that,” he said.
Parrish urged people to make themselves visible when walking on the street and to always utilize crosswalks to keep them safe.
He said everyone should be vigilant whether they are walking or driving.
Parrish also shared other tips to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe.
“When possible if you are out at night, try to cross where there is plenty of lighting, possibly a traffic light where there is a designated crosswalk, even wear light clothing if you are gonna be out walking at night,” he said.
He added people should also try to wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight with them to warn drivers they are on the road.
Anyone with information about the fatal hit-and-run accident can contact Harlingen Crime Stoppers at 956-425-8477.
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