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Hit-and-run crash brings calls for action to keep pedestrians safe

Last year there were 84 pedestrian-related deaths in Memphis, so far this year there have been 22.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police are on the lookout for the driver involved in a hit and run crash early Saturday morning.

MPD responded around 1:19 a.m. to an accident at the intersection of Baltic Street and Summer Avenue. The victim, a 44 year-old woman, is now at Regional One in critical condition. 

Police say the person who hit her was in a dark-colored SUV driving eastbound. If you have any information, police ask that you call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

This accident calls into question the safety of Memphis roads for several people in the Mid-South. Last year, a study called Memphis one of the deadliest cities in America when it comes to pedestrians.

According to the Memphis Police Department, there were 23 pedestrian-related deaths by this time last year. Coming into the week, MPD confirms there were 22 pedestrian-related deaths.

Some people are concerned the city might be on track to continue this trend. While the crash on May 27 was not deadly, several neighbors say the intersection where it happened is.

"We've come by this studio at night, and almost been hit," said Brantley Ellzey.

His art studio is at the corner where the hit and run happened.

Ellzey has seen the dangerous driving habits on Summer Avenue first-hand. He said this can be seen practically everyday, cars drive at full speed while people attempt to cross.

"During the day there's a lot of pedestrian traffic," said Ellzey, "Rarely is there 10 minutes that I don't see someone walking down Baltic to cross Summer Avenue."

At the intersection of Baltic and Summer, members of ABC24 saw several people taking their chances making their way across the street to get to the grocery and liquor store. 

For many of them, there is not a safe way to cross the street for quite some distance.

The news of the hit and run does sting for the community, but it also renewed calls for safety efforts from Memphis city leaders. Some call for a greater police presence to help cut down on speeding violations. Others want more traffic lights, stop signs and crosswalks.

A new safety initiative is hoping to address some of this concern. Together with the Tennessee Department of Transportation, they are building several crosswalks across the city, including one off the intersection of Baltic and Summer. 

The city says this specific crosswalk is expected to be completed by Mid-June, giving some Memphians a positive outlook.

"I'm very optimistic about what's going to happen on this street and I have a lot of faith that these problems can be solved,” said Ellzey.

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