COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — A pedestrian was hit and killed by a car in Columbia Heights early Thursday morning.

Authorities were called to the accident just before 2 a.m. near the area of University Avenue and 44th Street.

Columbia Heights Police say it appears the vehicle was heading northbound on University Avenue when the pedestrian was crossing at 44th Street.

The pedestrian, a 20-year-old woman from Columbia Heights, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name has not yet been released.

Police say the driver, a 32-year-old woman from Fridley, stopped after the crash and is cooperating with the investigation.

Columbia Heights Police Chief Scott Nadeau says with the rise in temperatures, he sees an increase in car-pedestrian accidents.

“We see far too many of these accidents, and when you have a pedestrian and you have a vehicle it just never ends well for the pedestrian,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau says his city sees at least one car-pedestrian fatality a year, and his goal is to educate the public in order to bring that number to zero.

Tools are in place to help people cross busy intersections, like voice commands that tell you to wait and when to walk.

“With some of these intersections now, they’ve got countdown timers that tell you exactly how much time you’ve got to cross the street,” he said.

Columbia Heights resident Arie Vongottfried says the lights and crosswalks are what keep her safe.

“For me, if like I’m not paying attention or whatever, the noise is really helpful,” Vongottfried said. “This is a really busy intersection. It’s the only inroad to University for like five blocks either way.”

Police say both University and Central avenues are hot spots for them to catch people jaywalking.

“If people were to go to the corner and cross with the light and in the cross walk, pedestrians do have the right of way,” Nadeau said. “If it’s at night time, we’re looking for bright clothing.”

Just following a few simple rules will give you a greater chance of crossing without incident. In the last couple of years, Columbia Heights Police sponsored an educational campaign so people know how to travel more safely from a pedestrian standpoint.

The campaign targets schools, churches and civic groups to spread the word.

Police say the victim was wearing dark-colored clothing, and the intersection was dimly lit due to a lack of housing and a sound wall that blocks light from the road.

Alcohol did not play a role in the crash, according to Chief Nadeau.


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