Three Athens pedestrians struck by vehicles in three days

By Joe Johnson

Two pedestrians were killed in Athens and another was seriously injured in a three-day period over the past week.

The first incident occurred at about 11:39 p.m. Saturday when 52-year-old Willie James Sims of Kennedy Circle was struck and killed by a pickup truck as he walked in a travel lane of Lexington Road near Johnson Drive, according to an Athens-Clarke County police accident report.

The driver, an 86-year-old Winterville man reportedly told police he did not see Sims while negotiating a slight curve in a poorly-lit section of the road.

The report noted that Sims was wearing dark clothing.

Two days later, at about 6:40 a.m. Monday, 34-year-old Filimon Ghebremehari of Dallas, Tex., was killed on Newton Bridge while making a delivery to Terrapin Beer Co., police said.

According to witnesses, Ghebremehari was in the brewery’s parking lot, having difficulty backing his tractor-trailer truck his truck onto the roadway, police said.

He exited the cab of his truck and crossed over to the east side of Newton Bridge Road to survey his situation. When he was done, Ghebremehari was crossing the road towards his cab on the west side of the road when he ran in front of a southbound vehicle and was fatally injured, police said.

Later that same day, at about 11:22 p.m., 26-year-old Mary Whiteman of Athens, was crossing College Station Road near Research on College Station Road near Research Drive when she was struck by a car that was traveling east on College Station Road, police said.

Whiteman was seriously injured and transported to a local hospital.

Police noted that the woman was improperly crossing the road by not using a pedestrian crosswalk.

In the wake of the pedestrian accidents, Athens-Clarke County police urged pedestrians to use caution when crossing roadways:

* Use marked pedestrian crosswalks when crossing a roadway;

* Walk on sidewalks when they are available;

* If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible;

* When crossing, never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach a crosswalk or intersection.

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