SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A pedestrian was fatally struck early Wednesday on Santa Rosa’s Stony Point Road — the fourth fatality on the roadway since last summer.
Santa Rosa police said the man was crossing Stony Point near Barndance Lane at 7 a.m. when he was struck by a silver Chevrolet Cruze.
The force of the impact threw the man into a mailbox, impaled his backpack into front fender of the car and sent one of his shoes airborne across the street.
The car, meanwhile, suffered a broken windshield and front end damage.
Investigators said that the driver, Esteban Garcia Martinez, an 18-year-old resident of Santa Rosa, was northbound on Stony Point Road. It was dark and raining heavily at the time and Martinez was traveling approximately 40 mph.
Based on Martinez’s and witnesses’ statements, the pedestrian was crossing Stony Point Road from west to east. He was not in a designated crosswalk. Martinez immediately stopped his vehicle just north of where he collided with the victim and was cooperating with police.
Several motorists called 911 to report the crash and arriving officers discovered the man lifeless on the roadway. Paramedics declared him dead at the scene.
The victim has been identified as Richard Anthony Burns, a 53-year-old resident of Santa Rosa. Autopsy results will indicate if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision.
Martinez was not impaired at the time of the collision. Police said that Burns was walking outside of the crosswalk at the time of the accident.
The major westside city route was closed for several hours. It has been the scene of multiple fatal pedestrian crashes in the last several months.
Max Lippincott lived with Burns as his housemate.
“Yeah we joke like we’re playing Frogger. We joked, but it’s not funny anymore,” said Lippencott ruefully.
Lippincott used to laugh about the danger of crossing Stony Point Road to and from the nearby market.
“Normally, what we do is come to the end of the sidewalk, which they need to continue,” said Lippincott.
The sidewalk on the road literally ends. On the other side of the road, there is no sidewalk at all. And there is no crosswalk on the street for the better part of a mile.
This kind of situation, a road that simply does not make much sense for pedestrians, appears to be claiming lives.
“I’ve been in the Traffic Division for almost three years. I can tell you we’ve had a significant increase in pedestrian fatalities,” said Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Summer Gloeckner.
Stony Point Road has seen its share of those fatal accidents, including three in late 2018 near the Occidental intersection. Gloeckner acknowledges that the infrastructure surrounding this road is not pedestrian friendly.
“This is more of a rural area,” she said. “The sidewalk only goes so far. Further south ,you go kind of the more county environment.”
And yet this is the direction people are building, moving and living. For anyone not in a car, good luck getting around.
“Yeah, trying to walk and bike — in this area anyway — it’s a dangerous,” said Lippincott, now handling the loss of her housemate. “We heard the sirens and stuff. No clue that it was him.”