Not To Be RepeatedBy
My thoughts are with Mr. Gilmore’s friends and family tonight. I’m deeply sorry for your loss.
From the Asheville Police Department’s website:
ASHEVILLE – Police are investigating a traffic fatality involving a vehicle and a pedestrian that occurred at about 9:30 p.m. June 16 at I-240 westbound just west of the U.S. 19/23/Future I-26 split.
A pedestrian, Anthony Ray Gilmore, birth date 5/27/1985, of Swannanoa, was running across the interstate toward Hillcrest Apartments when he was struck by a 2002 Chevy Cavalier traveling westbound in the far right lane. The driver was Jonathan Hassenzahl, birth date 7/3/1987, of Asheville.
Mr. Gilmore was deceased at the scene. There are no charges pending against the driver at this time. Investigators will confer with the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office for a final decision.
We’ve all seen people run across the highway where Mr. Gilmore died. The pedestrian bridge over I-240 from Hillcrest Apartments has been closed for sixteen years.
Public Information Officer Dawa Hitch spoke with Russ Bowen of WLOS earlier today. She later distributed an email to share that information:
“Russ Bowen with WLOS called me to find out if the bridge was still closed. I shared with him that, at the request of Council, NCDOT closed the pedestrian bridge in 1994.
Councilâ€™s request to have the pedestrian bridge closed was based on feedback from residents of Hillcrest Apartments and the Housing Authority as it was felt the pedestrian bridge played a significant roll in drug trafficking within the apartment complex.Mr. Bowen asked if the city would look into reopening the bridge. I stated Council would need to decide to revisit the original request to NCDOT. He mentioned this may be something residents should bring before Council again given the fatality.
I directed Mr. Bowen to the following minutes for additional information: April 8, 1998 and May 5, 1998.”
I’m going to listen to neighborhood residents and the police department in order to make an informed decision, but my initial reaction is that we’ve got to give Hillcrest residents a direct route downtown.
We also need an I-26 Connector that will rejoin Hillcrest to downtown in a permanent and meaningful way. Isolating neighborhoods doesn’t make things better.
I’d like to hear your thoughts, reflections, and suggestions.