News 4 Investigates: Walking dangerously - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Walking dangerously

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Accidents involving pedestrians are a problem in the St. Louis area, according to statistics. Credit: KMOV Accidents involving pedestrians are a problem in the St. Louis area, according to statistics. Credit: KMOV
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

It’s something you do every day, walk down the street.

But that simple act is proving dangerous surprisingly often.

New numbers for the St. Louis region reveal frightening statistics about the specific dangers of walking on the street.

There were more than 720 crashes between cars and people on foot or bike in 2015 in St. Louis and St. Louis County. Pedestrian deaths statewide rose 30 percent in 2015 over 2014. Experts say the crash numbers are at all-time highs.

In St. Louis, experts say, the number of people dying on the street is three times the national average.

The numbers are just statistics, but for Raqueal Lymore, they represent her son.

“I just want justice so my baby can rest in peace. So I can find some closure,” said Lymore

The details of the crash that killed her son, Jermaine Byrd Jr., and his girlfriend are almost too horrific to imagine.

“They were walking on the sidewalk, minding their own business, they didn't even see it coming,” said Lymore.  

A car jumped the curb and crashed into Jermaine and his girlfriend in Wellston in 2015. The woman driving pinned Jermaine against a light pole.

“She cut my son in half. My son died, facing her car, looking up at the sky,” Lymore said.

But while the driver stayed on scene, Raqueal says she has no closure.

“I want her to pay for what she did, that was reckless,” said

Tiffanie Stanfield feels the same.

“I will never lose hope. I will never lose hope for justice for Jameca, I will not,” Stanfield said.

Stanfield's sister, Jameca Stanfield, was killed as she crossed Grand in North City in April, 2016.

“She was murdered, not by a gun, but by a vehicle. You left her there, it was murder,” Tiffanie Stanfield said.

The driver fled the scene.

“Who does that, who does that? “ Stanfield said.

Tiffanie says police and prosecutors know who did it, but say there isn't enough evidence to charge them.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch office reviewed Lymore’s son's case.

“It's just a horrible set of circumstances resulting in this tragedy,” McCulloch said.

McCulloch says the driver that killed Jermaine said she had to swerve to avoid another car. She wasn't on the phone at the time, though she was driving 14 miles over the speed limit.

McCulloch says it was investigated thoroughly and he says the case simply isn't a high-level crime under Missouri law.

“I have to prove they were acting recklessly and when you look at all the evidence, it does not support that,” McCulloch said.

He told News 4 prosecutors must prove guilt of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. He says sometimes accidents are just that. The criminal laws, McCulloch says, are strong enough.

But other people believe more could be done.

“I don’t think we are doing enough,” said Taylor March.

Taylor March works for Trailnet, and helps tracks pedestrian and bike safety issues. He says new laws. like a Stop for Pedestrians Law, and other initiatives can people's lives.

He says part of the problem is that roads were built back when the region had more people driving. He says the region has wide roads often with few crosswalks.

Pedestrians are left with no choice but to cross dangerously. Trailnet wants changes in the region and in Jefferson City to ensure safety.

“These are all people, they're all individuals and everyone has the right to walk, and bike and drive safely,” said March.  

That’s something these grieving women both know all too well.  Both are now pleading for other people to come forward.

“Someone knows something,” said Stanfield.

Her family is offering a reward for information that leads to an arrest in Jameca’s death.

They are desperate, both for their own loved ones, and for others who might feel this pain in the future.

“I just can't let this go, I just can't let this go,” said Lymore.

Experts say the number one problem is speeding.

People rarely survive if they're hit with a car going faster than 40 miles per hour.

If you're walking, experts say to do it defensively. Follow the laws, cross at crosswalks, and even wear bright clothing so people can see you. 

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