SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The victim is expected to survive, but an overnight hit and run on a busy Sioux Falls street may be an indication of a much bigger problem. According to police, a 32-year-old man was crossing on Minnesota Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets and wasn't using a crosswalk.
Janoct Ajda was getting some very early morning coffee at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but it was something else gave him a jolt.
"You heard a big ole slap. A big slap," Ajda said.
After he heard the sound of a car hit the victim, he saw a man lying in the street. He called 911. According to other witnesses, the car that sped away is a four-door 1970s model that is either tan or yellow. Such a vague description makes it hard to find a suspect, but some people say it is easy spotting something else: jaywalking. While nobody deserves to be hit by a car, Charles McIntyre is not surprised the accident happened.
"You expect people not to walk out in the street and you expect them to use the crosswalk. It catches you off guard," McIntyre said.
The man was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
"That time of the morning, I can't think there's a lot of traffic on the roads. He probably thought it was ok," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
But McIntyre sees it happen a lot, even during the day on traffic-heavy streets like Minnesota Avenue and 41st Street. As a driver, he has noticed one of the worst spots for jaywalking is in front of the downtown YMCA. When someone walks, runs or bikes across a non-secure part of the street, there is only so much a driver can do.
"It's not a small town anymore, but I think sometimes people aren't conscious of growth and traffic," McIntyre said.
Two years ago, Minnesota Avenue was the site of a similar accident. A 27-year-old man was hit by a car, and he was the one who later faced charges because he was jaywalking.
KELOLAND News cameras caught several people not using the crosswalks on Minnesota Avenue during the day. Though the victim was illegally crossing the street, Ajda thinks everyone needs to be alert.
"The persons driving the vehicle have a steering wheel and a brake," Ajda said. "The person that hit that kid, I know they had to have had a lane and half to go around (because of the early morning lack of traffic), unless they were drunk," Ajda said.
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