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Updated Aug. 17, 6:14 p.m.–
Citrus Heights police closed down several lanes at a busy Sunrise Boulevard intersection Sunday morning after a 28-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to cross the street.
Traffic Sgt. Dave Gutierrez said the fatal collision occurred around 5:13 a.m. at the intersection of Sunrise Boulevard and Old Auburn Road, with an investigation revealing the pedestrian was hit while crossing in a crosswalk — but during a “don’t walk” signal.
According to a police news release, officers responding to the scene attempted lifesaving efforts on the pedestrian, but the man was determined to have been killed upon impact by Metro Fire personnel on scene. The pedestrian was later identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s office as Joseph Downing, who was described by family members as “high-functioning autistic,” according to Sgt. Gutierrez.
An investigation following the incident resulted in several lanes on Sunrise Boulevard near the intersection of Old Auburn Road being closed down for at least six hours on Sunday. Sgt. Gutierrez said the extended road closure is standard for any fatality and was necessary for officers to investigate and “forensically map the entire intersection.”
The 58-year-old driver involved cooperated with the investigation, according to police, and it was determined the vehicle had been traveling on a green light when the collision occurred.
Although police said Citrus Heights saw no pedestrian fatalities last year, Sunday’s tragedy marks the second such fatality of 2015 within city limits. The incident earlier this year occurred around 2 a.m. on Valentine’s Day at the intersection of Auburn Boulevard and Kanai Avenue, with the 26-year-old woman involved passing away several days later from critical injuries.
“We take this as a critically important issue,” said Sgt. Gutierrez, reflecting on the pedestrian deaths this year. “But it’s important that pedestrians utilize the crosswalks [properly].”
Gutierrez said neither alcohol nor speed appear to be a factor in Sunday’s collision.
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