Two hit, injured while crossing SW 62nd Blvd.

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.

Two people were hospitalized with broken bones after they were hit by a motorist Tuesday night while crossing Southwest 62nd Boulevard in a crosswalk, Gainesville police officer Ben Tobias reported.

Deidre Messner, 18, and Zachary Lash, 21, were crossing from west to east when they were hit by a van driven by Andrew Virgil, 28. Virgil was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Tobias said the crosswalk, in front of the apartment complex The District on 62nd, has had problems in the past, adding that a crosswalk enforcement detail was recently done there.

“When someone is in the crosswalk, they own it,” Tobias said. “We identified that intersection, as we can see from last night, as a major problem. We're trying to figure out how to fix the problem, whether it's education or enforcement.”

The accident happened about 9:30 p.m. at 1000 SW 62nd Blvd. Tobias said the injuries to Messner and Lash were not life-threatening but the two were taken to Shands at the University of Florida for multiple broken bones.

Virgil told police he did not see Messner and Lash in the crosswalk, Tobias said.

That intersection was included in a recent crosswalk enforcement action in which 70 citations were issued.

Under the law, drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and must stop when necessary to let a pedestrian cross.

Drivers must yield to pedestrians at intersections even if there are no pavement markings or the markings are faded. Also, drivers cannot pass other cars that are stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk to let pedestrians cross.

Drivers who are turning must yield to pedestrians crossing on a green light or with the “Walk” signal.

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