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Pedestrian Killed by Hit-and-Run driver Crossing Dangerous Santa Monica Street

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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Jorge Casuso

March 25, 2014 – A pedestrian was killed and another injured by a hit-and-run driver shortly after midnight Friday as they were attempting to cross one of Santa Monica’s most dangerous streets.

The incident took place at around 1 a.m. on March 22,  when a 61-year-old woman and her 32-year-old daughter were struck by a vehicle as they attempted to cross Ocean Avenue in the 1600 block, just south of Seaside Terrace, police said Monday.

The vehicle fled southbound on Ocean Avenue without stopping, according to police officials.

The mother, a resident of Wisconsin, suffered major head trauma and died an hour later as a result of her injuries, police said.  The daughter, who is a Santa Monica resident, sustained minor injuries.

“CPR was administered to the mother on scene and she was transported to a local trauma hospital for treatment,” said Sgt. Jay Moroso, the Police Department spokesman.

The suspect, who witnesses described as a Caucasian male, fled in what witnesses described as a silver sports coupe, with tinted windows.

Police closed State Route 1's exit on to Ocean Avenue while the Department's Major Accident Response Team investigated the accident.

Over the years, Ocean Avenue has been the scene of a number of fatal accidents.
In 1991, the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue became a notoriously dangerous crossing for pedestrians when the 89-year-old mother of Chez Jay’s late owner Jay Fiondella was struck and killed crossing the street steps from the popular restaurant.

Several years later, a homeless man was killed when he attempted to cross the same stretch of road.

And in 2000, two women crossing Ocean Avenue on the way to Palisades Park were hit and killed by a driver who was talking on her cell phone.

In January, the City began installing raised landscaped median on Ocean Avenue that extends from the intersection of the new Olympic Drive to Vicente Terrace Lanes. The new median prohibits cars from making left turns into and out of the streets and driveways along both sides of Ocean Avenue.

It is likely too early to tell what impact, if any, the new streetscape will have on accidents along the busy thoroughfare.

According to police department reports, the number of pedestrians killed by motorists in Santa Monica has dropped from seven in 2011 to three in 2012 to two last year.

Santa Monica officials say they have been working to keep accidents in the bayside city, where tourists flock every year, to a minimum. The efforts include a pedestrian action plan, currently being designed to help pedestrians get around town “safely and comfortably,” according to City officials.

The plan will inform ongoing and future enforcement and public safety campaigns, which require community input, officials said.

The police department also regularly monitors those areas in the city that have high occurrences of traffic accidents, including pedestrian accidents, Moroso said.

On Monday, a State bill sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto of Los Angeles to increase penalties for those who flee the scene of an accident was passed by the Assembly Transportation Committee by a vote of 13 to 1.

The bill would expand hit-and-run penalties to include automatic license suspension for motorists who flee the scene of any accident involving another person.

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