A man died Wednesday morning after he was struck by a car on U.S. 68, the fourth pedestrian to be hit this week in Clark and Champaign counties.
Jacob Hite, 23, Wauseon, Ohio, was struck at 6:46 a.m. on U.S. 68 near Ohio 296, according to the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
A Honda CRV driven by Stephanie Castle, 46, of Urbana, was southbound on U.S. 68 and had slowed down to make a left turn on Ohio 296. Then a Chevrolet Silverado driven by Hite rear-ended the SUV.
Hite exited his truck to check on Castle. He was walking back to his truck when he was struck by a Honda Odyssey driven by Jason Lewis, 46, of West Liberty.
Hite was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lewis was treated and released at the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Castle wasn’t injured.
It was the second fatal pedestrian crash in Clark and Champaign counties in two days.
Dena Portis, 32, and a teenager were struck by a car about 7:18 a.m. Tuesday on Old Springfield Road near Buffenbarger Road.
A family member called Portis because their vehicle had broken down, troopers said. She parked her Jeep Renegade westbound car in the eastbound lane, Sgt. Merrill Thompson said.
A 2006 Ford Focus driven by Stephanie Weaver, 24, of Chillicothe, then crested the hill, heading eastbound. Weaver swerved to avoid hitting the Jeep head on, troopers said, striking the left side of the Jeep and two pedestrians — Portis and Ta’Vaughn Tilley, 19, both of Springfield.
Portis was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said. Tilley was flown to Miami Valley Hospital by CareFlight medical helicopter with serious injuries. He was listed in fair condition Wednesday evening.
A woman also was struck by a car while walking in downtown Springfield on Monday at Main and Limestone streets.
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Pedestrian strikes nationwide have been on the rise in the past two years, according to AAA. In 2016, close to 6,000 pedestrians were hit. The number is expected to climb in 2017 once all the data has been compiled, AAA Safety Specialist Kara Hitchens said.
The increase is concerning, she said.
“We share the road. We share the road with pedestrians and we share the road with cars,” Hitchens said. “So both folks both parties need to watch out for each other.”
The safety group recommends pedestrians increase their visibility, such as wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night and walking in well-lit areas if possible.
”We want folks to be sure that you are following the traffic rules — walking on sidewalks if possible, there’s a lot of areas that may not have sidewalks; walk in crosswalks; and certainly avoid being drug and alcohol impaired,” Hitchens said.