HEMET: 21 “jaywalkers” cited in pedestrian safety crack down
HEMET — Citing numerous recent major injury and fatal vehicle versus pedestrian accidents, one area law enforcement agency has decided to try to tackle the problem – which many from throughout the San Jacinto Valley are calling an epidemic – with a new Pedestrian Safety Campaign aimed at educating the public about laws that affect both motorists and pedestrians alike.
Other area agencies such as Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol are participating in similar enforcement and education efforts, designed to raise public awareness about pedestrian safety.
See selection of recent Florida Ave. vehicle versus pedestrian accidents
The campaign’s first operation, purposely aimed at targeting pedestrians who choose to illegally cross Hemet’s busiest road, Florida Avenue – also known as Highway 74, was a huge success, Hemet PD Lt. Glen Brock explained the day of the campaign’s roll out.
“Hemet has had far too many pedestrian collisions and too many people killed when crossing Florida Avenue,” said Brock, who oversees the department’s four person traffic team.
Officials today released their first update regarding the campaign, which was set to begin this week in an effort to curb the needless and very preventable accidents.
After the safety program’s successful roll-out yesterday, officials say they plan “many more”similar operations, “working toward a goal of education and enforcement designed to address pedestrian safety and reduce collisions in the city,” Hemet Police Sergeant Dan Reinbolt explained in a social media release.
“Topics will include the proper use of crosswalks, pedestrian traffic signals and when and where a pedestrian is legally allowed to cross a roadway,” said Reinbolt. Additionally, “drivers will be reminded of why it is important to yield to pedestrians and where to look for pedestrians when driving.”
Hemet PD’s newest program began Wednesday, Apr. 11, with a pedestrian enforcement operation as part of their Pedestrian Safety Campaign.
During the operation, which started on the west end of Florida Avenue near Sanderson Avenue at 9 a.m., officers observed pedestrians crossing Florida Avenue between Sanderson Avenue and Kirby Street, a violation commonly referred to as “jaywalking.”
In total, officers stopped 21 pedestrians while illegally and dangerously crossing the road outside marked and established cross walks. In some cases, pedestrians were observed crossing mere feet from a marked cross walk. All were issued citations and “educated on the many California state laws governing pedestrians on public roadways,” according to Reinbolt.
In 2017, six pedestrians died while crossing Hemet’s roadways. According to Reinbolt, in all six fatal collisions officials determined the pedestrians caused the collisions by “illegally walking in the roadway or crossing the roadway and failing to yield to vehicles.”
So far this year, Hemet has experienced a number of additional major injury and fatal collisions between jaywalkers and vehicles, including a teenage skateboarder and new father who was fatally struck in a hit-and-run crash, March 28.
Officials are hoping their efforts will begin to have an immediate effect on jaywalking as well as vehicle versus pedestrian accidents and by mid-afternoon Wednesday, word about the enforcement program was already beginning to spread.
Shortly before noon, two people seen about to cross Florida Avenue near In-N-Out Burger were flagged down and stopped by a person who yelled to them that officers were writing tickets to jaywalkers. The pair waved off the warning, continuing to cross towards Big 5 Sporting Goods when they were promptly stopped by officers.
Passing cars honked and motorists waved to officers, thanking them for their enforcement efforts. Twenty minutes later, the pair continued on their way – unhappy, but still alive – after both were issued citations.
Hemet PD Pedestrian Safety Campaign video
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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.