NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville’s on track for another record year for pedestrian deaths. According to Walk Bike Nashville, there have been 21 pedestrian deaths within the metro area. That number is already more than through June of last year.
“It’s tragic, it’s another human life lost in a preventable traffic crash, and we just hear about it way too often,” said Meredith Montgomery with Walk Bike Nashville.
In terms of crashes with serious injuries, so far this year there have been 44 crashes involving a pedestrian and five involving cyclists. Montgomery says the number of fatal pedestrian deaths for the month of June is unusual.
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“We are used to hearing an uptick with the time change when it gets darker sooner, but this time of year, I feel like it’s unusual to see how many pedestrians are dying in these crashes, so it’s worrisome,” explained Montgomery.
The latest incident happened Friday morning after a man attempted to cross I-24 East.
He was hit by a black SUV that initially pulled over and stopped but sped off prior to police arrival. Two additional vehicles struck him, but only one of those drivers remained on the scene. The pedestrian is described as a black male. The medical examiner’s office is working to identify him.
Through June 2021, there were 32 crashes involving pedestrians with serious injuries and three involving cyclists, according to Metro police. Last year, through June, there had been 285 crashes involving serious injury or death. So far this year, police have already responded to 323 of the same types of crashes.
Pedestrian deaths continue to be a high priority for organizations and community members who want to see a change. For Chuck Isbell, it’s personal.
“He was on his skateboard,” said Isbell, while walking along Powell’s Chapel Road in Rutherford County. Looking at the area, he is reminded of the painful night when someone hit and killed his son.
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“The telephone poll over here,” Isbell pointed. “That’s where he took his last breath. They didn’t know it at the time, but he died there.”
At just 13 years old, Isbell’s son, Nate, went out with friends on a Halloween night. His father told News 2, that when he was initially hit, the impact was so strong he landed in a neighboring yard.
“It haunts me because I think of the last thing I said to him,” remembered Isbell. “The last thing I told him was don’t do anything stupid. You know Halloween, teenage boys, their going to do something stupid.”
Since his death, Isbell has been at the forefront of trying to make a change in Middle Tennessee. He started in Rutherford County, where he was able to push Rutherford County commissioners into unanimously passing a resolution asking drivers to slow down in residential areas on Halloween night.
Isbell has even started a Facebook page, advocating for more pedestrian rights.