Residents not surprised pedestrian hit near bridge

Published On: Dec 24 2013 01:04:16 PM EST
Updated On: Oct 25 2013 06:27:53 PM EDT

VIDEO: A Thursday night accident just off the Vilano Bridge raises concerns over drivers speed in the area.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -

When Neal White got the call from his wife about a man being hit by a car in front of their home at the base of the Vilano Bridge Thursday night, he thought of the vehicles he says drive too fast.

"I just thought it'd be a matter of time," he said. "It is (State Road) A1A. I understand that it's a main thoroughfare. It's the only road that goes across at this point. But it is in a residential neighborhood. A lot of foot traffic right here, a lot of people riding bikes, skateboards, and everything. It's just no reason for people to be diving this fast."

Police said speed was not a factor in the accident Thursday night. Investigators say a pizza delivery driver in an SUV hit 54-year-old David Nixon Jr. just west of the Vilano Bridge, closing it for hours. Nixon is in critical condition at UF Health Jacksonville.

Police said there were not yet any charges filed against the driver pending toxicology tests.

Pizza restaurant mangers had no comment Friday. White, however, has been very outspoken.

"We've sent several emails to the Police Department," he said. "I have called probably a dozen times, 'Please, can we get somebody down here to slow the traffic down.'"

St. Augustine police say they studied the area a few years ago and have determined there isn't a speeding problem.

But not everyone agrees.

"Definitely, because you're coasting off the bridge and a lot of people won't brake," said Savannah Perry, who walks in the area. "It changes to 30 (mph) up here, but you're still going 45 (mph), so you're not only coasting, you're going faster and you don't really pay that much attention."

Perry and her mother, Patty, not only drive across the bridge but walk across it, too. After Thursday's accident, they'll be thinking twice about when and where they walk.

"I don't know if I would be as interested in coming in the evening as I would during the day," Patty Perry said. "Probably put on some kind of reflector too, not wear dark clothes for sure."

White said even more needs to be done to keep people there safe.

"Maybe the city can do a better job of patrolling the area, write some tickets," he said. "I think better signs would probably help. I don't know, some type of warning device. Some people are just not thinking about what they're doing."

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