Crash victim families call for change to prevent more deaths
More than 1,000 people are killed every year in crashes across Tennessee.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - More than 1,000 people are killed every year in crashes across Tennessee and Walk Bike Nashville is launching a new effort trying to keep people safe with this weekend’s World Day of Remembrance.
The intersection of Harding Place and Antioch Pike is where Josh Sowers, 36, was hit by a car while walking home from the bus stop in October 2020. He was rushed to the hospital with unsurvivable brain trauma, three words his mother, Darlett Sowers, said a parent never wants to hear.
Darlett and her husband, Ernie, both cry every day thinking about what happened three years ago. They lean on each other and their family for support.
“We are not angry at the driver who hit him because she did stop, she called 911 and got him help,” Darlett said. “She did say, ‘I didn’t see him.’ I think that is one of the major problems.”
Ernie said Josh loved superheroes and would do anything for his friends and family. Josh did not have a driver license and preferred to take the bus or walk around Nashville, so Ernie dropped him off at Taco Bell, where he had worked for 16 years, the morning of the crash.
“He knew how to watch out for traffic,” Ernie said. “As safe as he had been all those years walking, it was hard to imagine that he was literally three quarters of a mile from the house when he was hit.”
So far in 2023, Metro Nashville Police said there have been 35 pedestrians and 122 people in cars killed across Nashville. More than half of those crashes have happened on only a handful of roads, Walk Bike Nashville said.
Wesley Smith and his colleagues are working with NDOT and TDOT to lower speed limits and redesign roads, like Dickerson Pike, to reduce the number of crashes and deaths.
On Sunday afternoon, Walk Bike Nashville is holding a march and rally at the Tennessee State Capitol to plant 1,000 flags in the ground memorializing the people who have died and calling on lawmakers to keep more people from being killed.
Darlett and Ernie will be at the rally, but said their effort will only work if drivers do their part to look out for people walking and biking around the road.
“I just don’t want to see another family go through the anguish, the heartache that we have experienced,” Ernie said.
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