St. Pete intersection with history of accidents prompts call for - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

St. Pete intersection with history of accidents prompts call for change

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Aurora Vestel (left) and her mother Dawn Masino (right) Aurora Vestel (left) and her mother Dawn Masino (right)
ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The video taken from a nearby deli makes you cringe. A 56-year-old man, carrying groceries, hits the button to start the crosswalk flashers. Most of the traffic stops.

But as he crosses the last lane, a car hits him. He flips over that car.

This isn’t the first time St. Petersburg Police have come to this intersection to investigate a pedestrian hit by a car.

St. Petersburg High sophomore, Aurora Vestel, is finally able to walk down the wheelchair ramp in front of her home, years after she was hit at the intersection of 5th Avenue North and 25th Street.

“I broke both legs, my arm and my pelvis,” Vestel said.

A recent operation removed rods and pins from her leg and arm. The October 2012 accident happened at very same spot as the Tuesday morning crash.

“She hit me and I went into a windshield and was launched 64 feet and landed on my face,” said Vestel.

Vestel’s glasses cut off her nose. Doctors re-attached it.

News Channel 8 shared her story soon after it happened, as her mother demanded new flashing lights to warn drivers. The Department of Transportation listened, and put them up several months later.

Now, Aurora's mother, Dawn Masino, wants a pedestrian-activated red light.

“I’m tired of hearing the excuse of ‘oh, I ran somebody over because I chose not to stop for a crosswalk’. They'll stop for a red light,” Masino said.

Gibbs High School has such a light. Kids coming or going from the high school hit the button, and all the cars on 34th Street stop.

A red light, instead of a flashing yellow light, may have prevented the Tuesday accident.

St. Petersburg Police cited Antonio Sanchez, 80, with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. That’s the same citation the driver in Vestal’s case received.

As for the idea of a red light, 8 On Your Side contacted the DOT about that.

A new crosswalk will be installed near a church a few blocks west of the accident scene, but there are no plans for a new signal.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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