Bayou area sees rise in pedestrian deaths

HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - Safety on the road doesn't just apply to those behind the wheel. Officers in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes are worried about the recent spike in pedestrian deaths.

On Aug. 29, 47-year-old Joey Thibodaux was crossing Houma's Grand Caillou Road near Furman Drive with two friends when he was hit and killed. Three days later, another man was hit and killed while walking on the North Service Road in Raceland.

The two accidents are part of a bigger trend in the bayou area.

"We've seen an increase in crashes where pedestrians are hit," said Pfc. Michael Toups with the Houma Police Department.

Last year, five pedestrians were killed in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes. This year, that number is already at six. Houma Police say things like drugs, alcohol and walking near busy roads when it's dark have all been factors.

"I'd say 99.8 percent of the time pedestrians are at fault because they're walking in the roadway," said Toups, who says busy roads like Grand Caillou are a problem. "We see a lot of foot traffic in that area, especially at night. We see some of the same pedestrians walking in the roadway."

But citations for jay-walking don't always work.

"They either crumple the ticket up or you see them in traffic again," said Toups.

Houma Police want people to remember, unless you're in a parking lot or on a marked crosswalk - you don't have the right of way.

"Don't walk into the road thinking this person is going to see me. These days, with distractions behind the wheel, impairment behind the wheel, don't ever assume that," said Louisiana State Police Trooper Evan Harrell.

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