Crosswalks prove deadly in Hayward



Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

Dominic Williams knows all too well just how dangerous the crosswalks along Tennyson Road near the Interstate 880 on and off ramps are in Hayward.
Six years ago, Williams was hit by a car while walking his bike in the crosswalk on the Interstate 880 North exit on Tennyson Road. The crosswalk is directly across the street from the crosswalk that Denesha Marshay Turner was in when she was struck and killed while pushing her 11-month-old son’s stroller last month.

“I can only thank God that the guy who hit me saw me before it was too late,” Williams said. “My bike got more messed up than I did, just a few bruises.”
Williams was lucky, Turner and her son were not.

Turner was pronounced brain dead on March 22 and taken off life support on March 25, dying just a week after the accident, according to her parents. Her son is still in critical condition at Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

I walk to and from school every day and I never see this damn light on”

— Miguel Acevedo

The driver, a 22-year-old woman in an SUV stopped after she struck Turner and her son and was fully cooperative with authorities. They ruled out drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor in the accident.

There are no plans as of yet to make changes to these pedestrian crosswalks on Tennyson Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. The eight crosswalks in Hayward are just an example of the dangers that pedestrians face while walking on the interstate walkways.

According to a Hayward Police Department representative, “We [HPD] do share those crosswalks with the California Highway Patrol. We responded to that specific case initially but we turned that over to CHP.”

The CHP puts out an annual Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System report that gives detailed accounts of incidents involving all vehicle accidents including those that involve pedestrians. According to their most recent report from 2012, there was just one fatal incident involving a pedestrian in Hayward out of 60 total incidents that involved pedestrians being hit by vehicles.

Many neighbors voiced their concern about the crosswalks on Tennyson Road to local leaders as recent as 2013. Hayward resident Maria Villegas lives on Biscayne Avenue in Hayward, directly adjacent to the Interstate 880 Southbound exit on Tennyson Road, and says she has heard and seen such incidents.
“I have lived here for years and we hear accidents all the time. We used to go in the backyard and look over the fence but they happen all the time so we’re kinda used to them,” Villegas said. “People get hit there a lot too but not many die like that poor girl. My neighbor complained to City Hall a few years back but nothing ever happened, and look now what happened to that girl and her baby.”

Since the crosswalks are technically on the Interstate, CHP takes jurisdiction over incidents in those specific portions of the crosswalks, which according to the HPD creates a “confusing” situation at times when it comes to jurisdiction.

When Turner was hit around 7 p.m. the light directly above the crosswalk was not working and is still not working as of publication.

“I walk to and from school every day and I never see this damn light on,” Chabot College student Miguel Acevedo said, before crossing the street where Turner was struck with her son. “I guess I take my life into my own hands eight times a day on these parts.”

Turner was doing her normal routine of taking her son to the Weekes Park Hayward Branch Library on Patrick Avenue near Tennyson Road, where she would read to him. She lived in an apartment complex near the library according to her parents.

“Look, the light is still out,” Villegas said, as she pointed to the light above the crosswalk and memorial for Turner from her backyard. “That girl dies and look, they don’t even fix the light. Maybe [the driver] couldn’t see her.”