Springfield police say it’s unknown why the woman struck and killed on U.S. 40 on Wednesday night was outside of her car and standing in the roadway.
Elizabeth S. Brightman, 41, of Columbus was standing about two feet in the roadway on Wednesday night, according to Springfield Police Sgt. Brett Bauer. She was just outside the open driver side rear door of her 2003 Toyota, which was parked on the shoulder a few hundred feet from Titus Road with its flashers on, he said.
She was then hit by a 2003 Dodge Stratus driven by Alexandria L. Thomas, 23, of Springfield, according to a police report.
The crash was reported about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday and Brightman was declared dead at the scene, Bauer said. It remains under investigation.
“We’re looking to see whether there’s a combination of fault or whether it’s one or the other,” Bauer said. “That’s going to be a difficult proposition for us because it’s going to be very difficult to determine why the pedestrian was in the roadway.”
Thomas was tested for alcohol and drugs, but he said they aren’t suspected as a factor in the crash.
The investigation will also look at whether Thomas was distracted while driving, he said, but that could also be difficult to determine.
“We are not pursuing charges at this point,” he said, “but we’re also not ruling them out.”
Two witnesses saw the crash and gave statements to police, he said.
The section of U.S. 40 where the crash happened isn’t lit, Bauer said, and has a speed limit of 55 miles per hour.
“It is a rural roadway,” he said. “It is not lit so it is very dark.”
It’s common for the area, said Ron Brown, who owns a bed and breakfast down the street from where the crash happened.
“For the most part we expect that in a more rural setting,” Brown said.
Crashes aren’t common on the road, he said, but he uses caution when pulling out of the business because of the high speed of drivers.
“You have to watch and you have to gauge the people and that they’re coming a little faster than they normally are in the city,” he said.
Family members of Brightman couldn’t be reached on Thursday. Calls to Thomas weren’t returned.