The man who was killed last night while walking across Santa Monica Boulevard near Hancock Avenue may not have been in a pedestrian crosswalk when he was hit by a car.
While the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station has said that Clinton Bounds was hit by the car while in the crosswalk, several people who either observed the accident as it happened or came across Bounds’ body shortly after have told WEHOville that Bounds wasn’t in the crosswalk when the car hit him at around 11 p.m.
A man who last night was at Gym Bar, on the north side of Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Hancock, this evening told WEHOville that he saw the car hit Bounds.
“As soon as I heard the impact, I saw him just launch in the air, do a little bit of the spiral and land on the ground,” said the man, who asked not to be identified by name. WEHOville agreed to let the man speak without naming him after he explained that his presence at Gym Bar and comments about the accident might cause him problems with his employer. The man said he knew Bounds and had spoken to him earlier. He said Bounds was headed south across Santa Monica Boulevard and not using the crosswalk when he was hit by a car.
Another WEHOville source said he saw Bounds’ body on the pavement immediately after the accident and that Bounds was a hundred or more feet east of the crosswalk. A photo taken of the accident scene by a resident of the nearby Hancock Loft apartments, posted above, shows Bounds’ body on the pavement well east of the crosswalk, which is indicated by a pedestrian crosswalk sign in the lower right corner of that photo.
Whether Bounds actually was in the crosswalk when he was hit is likely to become an important factor in the increasingly heated debate over whether the city is acting quickly enough to improve safety in pedestrian crosswalks.
Cross Safe WeHo, an activist group organized after a man was injured while in a crosswalk on Santa Monica Boulevard near Westmount, has announced a demonstration at the Hancock Avenue crosswalk for tomorrow.
“Tomorrow we march in honor of Clinton Bounds,” reads a post on the group’s Facebook page. “Ron Davis has organized a crosswalk sit-in, stand-up, scream out loud at 6 p.m. at the Hancock and Santa Monica Intersection. While I’m urging a peaceful protest many people are too angry and want to just sit down in the crosswalk. ”
Larry Block, one of the leaders of a citizens campaign to improve safety in the city’s pedestrian crosswalks, complained that the city wasn’t acting fast enough. “At the Public Safety (Commission) meeting, I said if another guy gets hit at a crosswalk the city will be liable because they knew that these crosswalks were dangerous,” Block said. “They allocated the money for the lights and the requests for proposals for lights have been sitting on a desk since last February.”
Block, who helped found Cross Safe WeHo, is referring to a vote by the City Council in February to authorize the city to seek bids to install flashing lights at the Hancock Avenue crosswalk and also on San Vicente Boulevard in front of the West Hollywood Library. Flashing lights already have been installed at three other locations: Santa Monica Boulevard at Westmount Drive and Orange Grove Avenue and Crescent Heights Boulevard at Norton Avenue.
During the February Council meeting, City Engineer Sharon Perlstein said it could take as long as six months before the crosswalk lights were installed.
“We’ll have to study the lighting at the intersections before it goes out to bid,” Perlstein told WEHOville. “That could take a month or two.”
Block said he has been told that the request for bids has not yet been released. City staffers have explained the delay by saying they are still studying various options for improving crosswalk safety. Block has argued that the city should install its special events flashing warning lights near crosswalks until it is able to install permanent flashing lights.