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Police concerned after latest pedestrian death

A 76-year-old woman was hit while carrying a bag of chicken breastsacross Rutherford Road near Highway 400 yesterday afternoon. The driverof the van was uninjured and remained at the scene.

A 76-year-old woman was hit while carrying a bag of chicken breasts across Rutherford Road near Highway 400 yesterday afternoon. The driver of the van was uninjured and remained at the scene.

York Region police Sgt. Steve Kempster said he was “concerned by the busy start to the year” for pedestrian fatalities.

“Sometimes it’s the fault of the pedestrian and sometimes it is the driver,” he said as officers collected the woman’s groceries from the road. “You’re always going to lose against a vehicle.”

York police were still investigating the Rutherford Road collision last night, but didn’t believe charges were likely.

Kempster, of the traffic reconstruction unit, said the 76-year-old woman began crossing the six lanes of Rutherford Road when traffic was stopped, but the light turned green before she finished. Cars idling in the two left lanes waited for her to finish, but an approaching van in the third lane didn’t see her, Kempster said.

“We can’t tell you when she entered the crosswalk or how long it took her,” Kempster said, adding witnesses to the accident should contact police. “We don’t know what transpired, maybe she dropped to pick something up in the middle.”

Kempster said the 29-year-old driver of the van was shaken.

Bonnie MacDonald, who crosses Rutherford Road everyday, said it is difficult to cross in time, especially with cars coming off Highway 400.

“I usually have to hustle and I’m not a slow walker,” she said. “They need to reprogram it.”

Coun. Bill Saundercook, co-chair of the Toronto Pedestrian Committee, believes walk signs give enough time for seniors to cross streets. “I think what needs to be looked into is whether vehicle operators are making pedestrians nervous by trying to take turns too quickly,” he said.