Mt. Pleasant police focus on Main Street crosswalk
By A.J. Panian
Published: Friday, December 28, 2012, 7:58 a.m.
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Coreen Lawson is not a fan of crossing Main Street in Mt. Pleasant.
“I hate crossing there, but I've got to get to work,” Lawson said.
A borough resident, Lawson said she began parking her vehicle in the lot behind Levin Furniture roughly a year ago. From there, she walks to and from her job at Leo & Sons Grille 31 nearby.
Though aided by a crosswalk replete with fluorescent signs instructing motorists to yield to pedestrians crossing there, Lawson said the law doesn't seem to matter to the majority of traffic on the road.
Particularly when her work day ends at 4 p.m., she said.
“I get out where they can see me standing there. You'll have one car stop, but I don't just cross then because, a lot of times, cars coming the other way won't stop at all,” Lawson said. “I witness that once or twice a week there.”
A 19-year-old Levin employee named Robert Overly was recently struck by a vehicle at that crosswalk.
The accident happened as Overly stepped into the pedestrian crosswalk in front of the furniture store along West Main Street on Nov. 26 to stop traffic so other employees could carry a couch across the street for loading, borough police said.
“He was a spotter,” said Ward Dingman, Levin president of operations.
That's when Overly was struck by a Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Erik Hanzel, 32, of 123 Center Ave., Mt. Pleasant, police said.
The impact forced Overly onto the hood of the vehicle and then to the ground. He rolled about 30 feet from the impact site, police said.
Overly was flown to Allegheny General Hospital where he was reported to be in good condition on Nov. 28, and hospital spokesman Dan Laurent said several days later that he was no longer was listed as a patient there.
Hanzel was charged with the summary traffic violations of failure to yield right of way to pedestrians, careless driving and obedience to traffic control devices, according to court records.
“We've been down there 92 years and we've never had an incident like this until now,” said Dingman regarding Levin Furniture — a locally established company.
With incidents like that and the testimony of people like Lawson regarding the dangers of crossing Main Street daily, Mt. Pleasant Borough Police Chief Steve Ober said his policemen are keeping as close an eye as ever on the behavior of motorists in that area.
“I just think everybody's in a big hurry and they're being inconsiderate,” Ober said. “They just don't take time to think of other people.”
In addition, Ober said someone has recently been moving the pedestrian crosswalk signs from the street to the sidewalks at odd hours of the night, thus concealing them from morning rush hour traffic on the road.
“Those things are pretty heavy; I struggle moving them myself,” Ober said. “But every morning I come to work and somebody moved them between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.”
Ober's message to whomever is doing it?
“We'll be watching.”
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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