KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A death near the River Market in Kansas City impacted traffic throughout the downtown loop for several hours Saturday.
A 34 year old man was “doing exactly what you aren't supposed to do - crossing the highway,” Sgt. Deb Randol said. “Just wanted to get from one side to the other.”
As a supervisor for the Accident Investigation Unit for Kansas City Police, Randol has seen a lot. But it doesn’t make it right.
“It is sad that this is what happens,” Randol said as she looked over a combined I-35 and I-70 near 6th and Main Streets.
Around lunchtime Saturday, instead of walking over the Main Street Pedestrian Bridge, or Wyandotte, or Walnut, or Grand, a 34 year old man chose to walk across the interstate.
“He's got a dark shirt on and he's got khaki shorts,” Randol explained. “Sometimes you blend right into the background.”
Randol said the semi-truck driver didn’t see the man until it was too late.
“By the time he realized,” Randol said of the semi-driver, “he slammed on his brakes, but it was too late. He struck the pedestrian and killed him.”
Thousands of drivers had to make a small detour off the interstate and briefly onto 6th street, detouring around the crash site at Main and the Northern part of the Downtown loop. Investigators said they tried to be mindful of the drivers; it had commercial vehicle investigators, forensic investigators, and others working simultaneously to reduce the shutdown time.
While investigators pieced together exactly what happened, it was clear to Randol.
”It's common here, they cross right where they're at. They don't worry about trying to get over here to the cross bridge and walking across," Randol said. "They're just in a hurry sometimes, and they don't think they need to, they don't want to take the extra steps. It's sad, but I don't know why they do that.”
The Kansas City Police Accident Investigation Unit, which Randol supervises, worked 21 fatalities last year. Most of those cases, she said, were just like this.
“It is exactly what not to do. But here's the thing: if you've done it 100 times, and you don't think anything of it, and then on the 101 time you've done it, this is what happens.”
Randol also said the man lived about three blocks away from the scene of the crash, in Downtown Kansas City. Randol said the Medical Examiner noted the man still had his earbuds in his ears, and his phone was found on the interstate.