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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Third pedestrian struck and killed near University of Maryland

Updated: July 8, 2014 at 10:25 a.m.

A 21-year-old woman was killed after she was struck by a car Sunday in downtown College Park, Md., just three months after a GW senior died near the same intersection.

Janelle Marie Oni was crossing Baltimore Avenue, a busy strip of bars and restaurants near the University of Maryland, at about 3 a.m. when she was hit by a drunk driver, the Baltimore Sun reported. Oni is the third pedestrian to die because of a car accident near the intersection this year.

Police arrested the driver, Jacky Luangraj, shortly after the incident. His blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit, according to a release from the Prince George’s County Police Department.

GW senior Carlos Pacanins was also hit by a car and killed near the intersection in April. Just weeks away from graduation, Pacanins had crossed the street while the “do not walk” signal was flashing.

Six pedestrians have been struck near the intersection of Baltimore Avenue and Knox Road this year, and law enforcement officials have described the intersection as particularly busy on Thursday and Friday nights.

Cory Hubbard, a 22-year-old student at the University of Maryland, was hit by a car and killed near the intersection in January.

More than 2,740 people have signed a petition calling on the city to build a brick wall along Baltimore Avenue, which would force pedestrians to use the crosswalk.

After Pacanins’ death, police and local lawmakers passed out fliers promoting pedestrian safety to people on the street. The College Park City Council and Mayor Andrew Fellows also sent a letter to the state highway administration proposing to lower the speed limit by 5 mph to 25 mph, install brighter lights and add flashing signs to the crosswalk.

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh said he will meet with the state highway administration Tuesday to speed up improvements to the intersection. Highway officials have already trimmed trees and changed the timers on traffic signals to give pedestrians more time to cross, the Sun reported.

“There are literally scores of young people crossing in the middle of the street after midnight. It’s not just one or two,” Loh told the Sun. “When you have hundreds of people crossing at any given time because there are thousands in these bars, just pleading with them is not sufficient. Just issuing tickets isn’t going to do it.”

Officials will install LED lights at the intersection this fall and a sign with flashing yellow lights warning of the pedestrian area. They have also conducted a speed analysis at the intersection, planned to design new medians and hoped to add countdown signals to pedestrian crosswalks.

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