A 40-year-old Sonora man died after getting hit by a car late Tuesday night on Mono Way near Truckenmiller Road, the second pedestrian to be struck by a vehicle in or near downtown Sonora in less than two weeks.
Sonora Police Chief Turu VanderWiel said a white 2008 Toyota Prius driven by a 30-year-old Tuolumne woman struck the man while he was possibly seated or lying in the eastbound lane.
“We’re still trying to get witness statements together,” VanderWiel said. “Different statements sometimes conflict, people see different things, so we’ve got to figure out what was the most likely action for the pedestrian.”
VanderWiel said they are certain about is that the pedestrian was in the eastbound lane when he was hit, though the chief didn’t have the exact measurements from the sidewalk.
The names of the driver and pedestrian will not be released likely until next week because VanderWiel said he wanted to give the man’s family time to notify each other.
A witness reported the incident to the Sonora Police Department at 11:24 p.m.
“The driver wasn’t sure what happened at first, but immediately returned to the scene,” VanderWiel said. “Officers made contact with the driver immediately.”
VanderWiel said that there was no indication that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A toxicology report on the pedestrian was being done because officers weren’t able to assess him at the scene.
The man was taken by ambulance to Adventist Health Sonora, where he died before he could be medi-flighted to a trauma center.
VanderWiel said officers have contacted three witnesses and are seeing if they could find any others.
A full investigative report could take weeks to complete.
“The final report will take a little longer than normal,” he said. “Especially when there’s the unfortunate circumstance where someone passes or is gravely injured, there’s more to investigate and we scrub evidence a little closer.”
A pedestrian was hit June 27 in downtown Sonora but was not seriously injured.
A 56-year-old man reportedly fell to the ground and suffered scrapes to his knees and right elbow when he was hit by a vehicle while crossing Elkin Street on North Washington Street near the St. James Episcopal Church, also known as the Red Church.
One of the reasons for the increase in pedestrian accident could be due to an increase in foot traffic for summer, VanderWiel said.
VanderWiel said there have been multiple accidents involving vehicles hitting other vehicles and pedestrians on the stretch of Mono Way between Barretta Street and Truckenmiller Road where the man died Tuesday.
“The more pedestrians we have crossing in areas, especially those not designed for pedestrian crossing, it definitely increases the risk of vehicle versus pedestrian collisions,” he said.
There are several projects in the works intended to reduce accidents and make downtown Sonora more pedestrian friendly, including one at the intersection near the Red Church, but none are currently planned for Mono Way between Barretta Street and Truckenmiller Road.
Contact Alex MacLean at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 588-4530.