APD plans to work with city to add more lights on Slaughter and Congress after fatal crash

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — South Austin residents are concerned over a lack of lighting for pedestrians on South Congress Avenue and Slaughter Lane after a driver hit and killed a pedestrian Monday night.

Investigators arrested Debrah Callison, a 69-year-old woman, on suspicion of driving while intoxicated related to the crash.

At the time of the accident, Austin Police investigators told KXAN they believe poor lighting may have contributed.

Photo: Alex Caprariello/KXAN

“Anytime you have these types of crashes, you have to look at the lighting and the roadway, the whole scenario. So, yes, I think lighting was an issue,” said Corporal Joson Huskins.

This is the fourth person to die in a crash on South Congress this year.

John Printy, who lives less than a half mile from the site of the accident, said he has consistently remarked how dark that part of the city is, especially for a highly-concentrated area of restaurants and businesses.

“My wife picks me up and when we come home, I kept saying that someone is going to get killed here,” Printy said. “You can’t see anybody crossing the road and walking down the sidewalk.”

He said he wasn’t surprised when he heard about the crash there on Monday night.

“I said, oh my gosh, it happened,” Printy said.

Printy said there is a lot of traffic and pedestrians due to shopping at Southpark Meadows. He admits, the only thing lacking is the lighting.

Restaurants and businesses are all around, and Printy said those parking lots are often the only areas brightened.

Although police say the driver showed signs of intoxication and the man was walking where he shouldn’t have, APD said they’ve learned this area is very dark.

“Nobody knew how bad it was out there so that is something that we will bring up with vision zero and our transportation department,” said Patrick Oborski, a detective with APD’s Highway Enforcement Command.

“Would that have helped what happened last night? I can’t say that. We just know that its something that needs to be looked at. We are going to make a comment to transportation and make sure they are aware of it so the right people are looking at it and looking at every single angle.”

Detective Patrick Oborski, APD Highway Enforcement Command

The intersection itself has had trouble. KXAN analyzed the data and found 60 total crashes there between 2012 and 2016. That ranks fifth on all of Slaughter Lane.

There have been 60 crashes at the intersection of S. Congress Avenue and Slaughter Lane, the fifth most on all of Slaughter from 2012 to 2016.

People living in South Austin hope this fatal crash and the recommendation from APD to add more lighting will spark change from the city.

“If anything, to save a life. Even if it’s just one life, it’s still a saved life,” Printy said.

Other crashes on Slaughter

This crash is one mile east of a different fatal accident on Slaughter Lane last month. Neighbors in that community have asked for a stoplights in the area.

RELATED: Neighbors are urging the city to consider adding a stoplight to an intersection they say is incredibly dangerous and filled with blind spots

The City of Austin has planned improvements for Slaughter Lane through the 2016 Mobility Bond. A spokesperson for the transportation department said they will re-stripe the roadway to provide “consistent expectations for drivers, provide for safer left-turn access” and to improve safety for both walkers and cyclists.

The city will also add a stoplight, but it will be at the Slaughter Lane and Old Lockhart Highway intersection, approximately one mile east. Officials are recommending a pedestrian hybrid beacon near Narrow Glen Parkway that would slow drivers when pedestrians want to cross.

City officials will also investigate this most recent crash and implement safety improvements as they see fit.

Tonight on KXAN News at 9 and 10 p.m., Alex Caprariello will investigate the facts of the most recent crash and talk to residents about what sort of changes they want to see to the lighting in the area of the crash.

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