Pedestrian, 62, latest casualty of risky roadway

NORCROSS - A 62-year-old Norcross man died Sunday afternoon in the latest instance of vehicle-versus-human collisions on South Norcross-Tucker Road, police said.

The victim, identified as Juan Antonio, was struck by a southbound 1995 Chrysler Concorde while crossing a marked crosswalk near Danbury Drive, just south of Jimmy Carter Boulevard, police said.

Antonio walked into the two-lane road as oncoming traffic had a green light, police said. He halted in the left lane as a vehicle slowed down, then continued into the right lane, where the Chrysler hit him. He died at the scene.

Cpl. David Schiralli, Gwinnett police spokesman, said Antonio disobeyed a "Stop" signal as he crossed. No drivers have been charged in the incident.

The fatality isn't the first instance of pedestrian injury on South Norcross-Tucker Road, which drivers say has become chancy as an influx of immigrants has settled in nearby apartments. Residents in the area have likened a drive on the winding roadway to playing the 80s-era video game "Frogger."

Earlier this month, a Gwinnett police officer struck a drunken homeless man who had reportedly darted onto the road near the Crestwood Apartments. The man survived the collision and was charged with alcohol and crosswalk violations, police said.

But the collisions might not wholly be the fault of pedestrians. Drivers of the traffic-heavy corridor have an unsavory reputation as lawless and speedy, police have said.

In March, Gwinnett police issued 81 warnings and citations during a sting on pedestrian-law violators and speeders in the course of one morning. The area had been singled out as among the more risky intersections in Gwinnett.

Schiralli said a second traffic crackdown will be conducted elsewhere in Gwinnett "in the next few weeks."

In metro Atlanta, four pedestrians are hit by vehicles per day and 80 are killed per year, according the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Georgia law mandates that drivers must stop for pedestrians before turning left or right at traffic lights. Drivers must also stop for pedestrians crossing in front of them, leaving at least one lane of opposite-direction traffic between the pedestrian and the vehicle before proceeding.

Police have hinted that installing more traffic islands in pedestrian-heavy corridors could help remedy accidents. The islands would link more crosswalks from one side of the road to another.