2022 marks deadliest year for Nashville pedestrians

2022 was the deadliest year for Nashville pedestrians, Marissa Sulek reports.
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 7:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2023 at 10:16 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Last year was the deadliest year in history for Nashville pedestrians.

Walk Bike Nashville said more than 40 people lost their lives while walking.

On the first day of 2023, Metro Police said a man crossing Murfreesboro Pike and Elm Hill Pike died after he was hit by a car. They said a 17-year-old from Mount Juliet hit him, fled the scene, and later returned with his father.

Before 2022 ended, a 76-year-old man visiting from Iowa was killed on Friday on West End Avenue. The University of Iowa said the man was star linebacker Jack Campbell’s grandfather. He had come to watch his grandson in the Music City Bowl when he was struck by a hotel passenger van.

“Tragically we hit record-breaking numbers in 2022,” Walk Bike Nashville Executive Director Meredith Montgomery said.

Montgomery heard about the two weekend deaths. There were 44 pedestrian deaths in Nashville in 2022.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s hard. It sometimes makes you feel helpless, like is the work we’re doing getting anywhere?” Montgomery said. “But then at the end of the day, it’s got to be a motivator. Keep coming back to that sense of urgency. We have to have a sense of urgency.”

It’s an urgency the city saw last year when it implemented its Vision Zero Action Plan. That includes strategies, goals, and infrastructure to make Nashville more pedestrian friendly over the next five years. Montgomery said it’s great work, but they still need to find the root cause.

“Really trying to explore the culture shift that needs to happen, like why is this happening? Montgomery said. “Yes, we need these infrastructure improvements, both short-term and long-term, but why are we having so many fatalities?”

However, Montgomery says drivers need to be aware of their surroundings and anticipate pedestrians, especially when it’s dark. If anyone sees a dangerous situation on the roads or sidewalks, they should speak up and report it to Hub Nashville and/or their council member.

In the plan Murfreesboro Pike is flagged as one of Nashville’s most dangerous streets. Montgomery knows at the end of the day victims and families are paying the cost.

“This is more than statistics,” Montgomery said. “This is human beings that are leaving behind loved ones and will never get them back.”

No charges are expected in the West End Avenue death. The 17-year-old involved in the Murfreesboro Pike death was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid, and failure to report an accident.