A 53-year-old motorist is facing DUI and vehicular assault charges after allegedly hitting a 66-year-old woman Wednesday evening at the Rose Hill intersection of NE 80th Street and 124th Avenue NE. It was the second pedestrian struck by a vehicle along NE 80th in five days.
Some residents near 80th -- along which are two public schools -- are expressing concerns about traffic safety there after the two incidents.
In the latest incident, the male driver was turning onto 124th Avenue from 80th at about 5:50 p.m. Wednesday when he struck the woman, who suffered broken ribs, said Kirkland Police spokesman Lt. Mike Murray. The woman was taken to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening.
“He was eastbound on 80th and turning left onto 124th Avenue and didn’t see the gal and nailed her,” Murray said. “He got arrested for vehicular assault and was definitely intoxicated.”
On the morning of Friday, Sept. 28, at 80th and 120th Avenue just four blocks away away, a female driver failed to see a man walking through the intersection and hit him as she turned onto 80th.
The victim was thrown onto the hood of the vehicle and then to the pavement. He suffered cuts to his face and broken bones and was taken to EvergreenHealth Medical Center. His injuries were not life threatening. The driver in that case was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
Readers expressed alarm at the two cases and concern for safety on 80th by email and a post on the Kirkland Patch Facebook page.
One suggested that a traffic light is needed at 80th and 124th. “Corner of NE 80th and 124th Ave NE near LWHS really needs a 4-way stop signal! Drivers whip around the corner all the time,” she said in a Facebook post. “A pedestrian was hit by a truck just about an hour ago. Not the first time a pedestrian has been hit by a car on this corner!!”
Another reader emailed to say that many drivers use NE 80th as a route to bypass even busier NE 85th five blocks north. “And I’m not the only one noticing a lot of speeding (the limit is 25mph, 20mph when children are present) and aggressive and dangerous driving on 80th of late,” she wrote. “Some drivers even have the nerve to honk, flash high beams, or tailgate drivers who are actually observing the speed limit.”
Murray said Kirkland Police focus extra attention on NE 80th because Lake Washington High and Rose Hill Elementary are both along it within 10 blocks of each other, and drivers do use 80th as an alternative to 85th. But he said the two vehicle/pedestrian incidents over the last week are very different cases and coincidental.
“It’s one of the streets our officers work quite a bit,” he said. “I know it’s been studied by our (Kirkland) Public Works Department, and they’ve determined another light is not necessary. The main problem here (in the latest case) is the guy was drunk. In the other case, the lady just didn’t see the pedestrian.”