CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - A community in Clearwater is urging the Department of Transportation to make changes to a stretch of Roosevelt Boulevard after a pedestrian was hit and killed Tuesday night.
The crash killed Ted Brown, 57, as he crossed the road near Morgan Street.
"It hurts my heart because I just lost my friend. And we were just talking. I went to use the bathroom, come out, he's dead," said Brett Baskin.
Brown is homeless but is also well-known and well-liked by people who live and work in that area.
The two of them had been drinking nearby at Birdie's Pub earlier in the evening. Baskin said Brown was trying to cross the road because he wanted to sleep in a church on the other side of Roosevelt.
"It's devastating to me because he was a very good, loyal friend to me," Baskin said.
Brown is the the second pedestrian killed along that same stretch of road since May. A bicyclist was also killed some time before that.
"It's incredibly dangerous. I watch families with like five kids crossing the road, right in the middle. And then at night time it's so dark, there's a plaza with a bar," said Kadie Griffin, who is a bartender at Birdie's and ran out to help Brown. "It was just shocking. I started shaking."
A Florida Department of Transportation spokesperson told FOX 13 a traffic study was conducted following the May accident. Engineers determined adding it wasn't necessary to add a traffic light or crosswalk because there wasn't enough foot or bicycle traffic; the two closest traffic lights are less than a mile apart.
The DOT, however, is now planning to do a new pedestrian and bicyclist count and will re-evaluate stretch of road in the fall.
"Once the peak-season count has been conducted we will initiate a full study of the location to determine potential enhancements," Kris Carson, an F-DOT spokesperson, said in a statement. "The full study will be completed as a Road Safety Audit along the corridor in conjunction with the Pinellas County Community Traffic Safety Team. The safety audit will involve stakeholders from around the community including local traffic engineers and law enforcement, to conduct a comprehensive safety review of the corridor. We are targeting an October date for the review."
Brown's friends are hoping for something to change.
"At night time, they go 75, 80 miles an hour down this road," Baskin said. "They don't do anything about it. That's why people die up and down this street all the time. I've lost so many friends on that street."
"They need to do something," Griffin added. "I just don't want the death count to go through the roof."