SPOKANE, Wash. - Hundreds of people are expected to attend a memorial Saturday for Andrew Vathis -- the beloved Albertsons employee killed while crossing 57th Avenue on the South Hill.
The area has expanded over the years with apartments and retail shops but the busy stretch of road between Regal Street and Palouse Highway, nearly a mile long, still has no crosswalks or street lights. Pedestrians are forced to dart across three lanes of traffic.
"It's pretty dangerous given the speed of the cars and the lack of lighting," said Southgate Neighborhood Council Co Chair Ted Teske.
Vathis is not the only person to be killed in recent years. A man was struck by a vehicle in nearly the same spot in 2013.
Teske said the county had plans to add street lights and crosswalks, but that fell through.
"In June of last year they said the funding didn't come through and kind of back-burnered it," Teske said.
There would have been a lighted crosswalk exactly where Vathis was hit.
"We have unfortunate timing," said county engineer Chad Coles. He said funding for added pedestrian safety recently came through and the county has accepted bids from contractors. Several lighted crosswalks will be soon be put in between Regal and Palouse Highway, along with street lights and pedestrian medians, according to Coles.
Friends and co workers of Vathis are now left to wonder if a lighted crosswalk could have saved his life. A memorial will be held inside the Ferris High School gym Saturday, February 2nd at 11 a.m.
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