Pedestrian Fatality on North Decatur Road This Morning

Oh dear.  Heather points to this AJC report of another fatality on North Decatur Road this morning….

DeKalb County police are investigating a fatal pedestrian accident that occurred during Thursday’s morning commute.

The accident happened about 8:30 a.m. on North Decatur Road at Landover Drive.

DeKalb police spokeswoman Mekka Parish told Channel 2 Action News that the man was attempting to cross North Decatur with a female when he was hit.

Fox5 also has the story.  Landover Drive at North Decatur Road intersection is right outside the Decatur city limits.  (Map HERE)

61 thoughts on “Pedestrian Fatality on North Decatur Road This Morning”


  1. Sad. If Google Maps and my memory are accurate, there’s no crosswalk there so it’s a dangerous place for pedestrians to cross N. Decatur. But there’s also no sidewalk there for pedestrians to walk the 1/2 block east to the nice cross-walk at Superior. And if they are heading west, they probably don’t want to walk east first to cross. But the next cross-walk heading west is a long way up at Publix and meanwhile they are stuck in 2 foot narrow alley between the guard rail and the road until they get to the next parking lot. This seems to be a pedestrian unfriendly section of N. Decatur in a part of town with lots of homes and apartments and things to walk to. At the least it needs a sidewalk on the Landover side of N. Decatur.

    1. The lack of sidewalk there definitely makes it dangerous for anyone trying to walk to bus stops, etc., and the existing sidewalk on the other side of the street is in terrible shape.
      Where the road goes over the creek, the sidewalk is crumbling, weeds have grown over almost half of it making it almost impassable, and there is a sewer drain(?) with the concrete supporting the manhole cover almost completely gone. That’s not even mentioning that the sidewalk runs *in front* of the guardrail and there is zero buffer between the road and sidewalk. So if a car or truck gets over too far and goes over the sidewalk there is nowhere to go.

      This area has loads of pedestrian traffic, lots of Emory students and employees, and it really would be a great place to walk around, with so many different things nearby (groceries, restaurants, bookstores, bike shop, etc.), but this road is extremely dangerous.

    2. So true. The bicyclist was killed almost only a couple of doors down from where I was living at the time. I have since moved, because of the safety issues and crime. If these occurrences are so predictable to us, why can not not the ‘powers that be’ take heed before more lives are lost?

      1. N. Decatur Rd. is only partly inside Decatur city limits. It’s mostly in Dekalb Co.. Between the change of stewardship and being mostly in Dekalb Co., I don’t have much hope anything will improve.

  2. I live on Landover and heard this happen this morning from inside my house. I thought it was just a fender bender and was surprised to see the end of the street blocked off by the police when I left for work. Yes, that area of North Decatur is treacherous for pedestrians and we usually avoid walking along it…

  3. Maybe this explains the traffic tie up at Clairemont/Scott/N. Decatur at 9:30 and not rerouted east-west traffic due to the tree across Ponce.

  4. Also happens to be on the stretch of N. Decatur where a cyclist was killed not too long ago I believe. Very sad indeed.

    1. Daydreamer, that was my first thought – that there was the cyclist accident in the same area recently. There obviously needs to be some sort of change made on that street.

      1. Paul Taylor, 53, Oak Grove resident, was killed in a vehicle/bicycle accident on Monday, April 30, 2012.

  5. terrible.
    condolences to the family.
    our state, in general, is woefully underprepared for all of the walking and cycling we encourage our citizens to do.

    “Georgia has the ninth highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the nation based on population”

    http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/rise-in-pedestrian-fatalities-in-georgia-puts-spot/nRMKm/

    and

    ” A recent report by a national pedestrian safety organization indicates that 46,000 pedestrians were killed over the last decade, which is the equivalent to a jumbo jet full of passengers crashing every month.”

    http://www.montlick.com/montlick-blog/montlick-law-blog/775-buford-highway-the-most-dangerous-road-for-georgia-pedestrians

  6. There is no sidewalk on that side of such a busy road. In addition, there appears to be a guard rail
    right next to the road with a steep drop off. This is truly a tragedy.

  7. How awful. Indeed, there need to be changes to that road; perhaps traffic calming measures and more crosswalks. I’m scared just driving that road and avoid it whenever possible. People drive way, way too fast and it’s too narrow. Not to mention previously noted pedestrian hazards.

  8. Tragic accident, both for the deceased and the driver who struck the man. Two problems here: 1) crosswalks in this city are few and far between, although the couple was only 300 ft. from the nearest one at N. Superior, and 2) the driver in the other travel lane stopped for the pair in an attempt to be “nice” and let them cross. I see this happen in traffic all the time, and it’s SO dangerous. With free-flowing traffic in both directions, it’s an even bigger risk to be Mr. Nice Guy and to just stop right in the middle of the road – other cars have to slam on their brakes for without expectation (no crosswalk, no traffic light, no cars entering the roadway). Cars don’t even stop for pedestrians at crosswalks in this city, let alone without one.

    So while part of the problem may be with the crosswalks, there’s the other problem of some drivers not following the rules of the road and just…stopping. Sad outcome indeed.

    1. Exactly right LowPo. The driver may have been trying to do something nice- but you cannot gaurantee that other drivers will stop. Follow the flow of traffic don;t change the rules mid stream. I feel awful for everyone involved.

    2. Re “….although the couple was only 300 ft. from the nearest one at N. Superior, “: Just to be fair to pedestrians, while that cross-walk is near, there’s no sidewalk to get there, just walking across people’s yards. No shoulder to speak of.

      In terms of speed, there’s something about the dip in N. Decatur at Landover that invites cars to whiz by. It happens in both directions, especially if the light is green at Publix for cars heading east or the light is green at Superior for cars heading west. It seems crazy but the only successful traffic calming may be to put a light at Landover (which then would allow for a cross-walk too.)

      1. You could reduce N. Decatur to 2 lanes with a middle turn lane to calm traffic from Scott to Clairmont.

        1. Or maybe a reversible lane? Traffic is bad enough at rush hour with everyone going to or leaving Emory or CDC. The bottleneck caused by the reduction of lanes would undoubtedly create unintended dangerous traffic conditions.

          1. The bottleneck for Emory/CDC traffic is not N. Decatur itself, but the N. Decatur and Clairmont intersection. Reducing it from 4 lanes to 3 (turn lane in the middle) would go a long way towards making it safer without a large reduction in traffic capacity.

  9. We used to live on the next block of N, Decatur – the other side of Superior – and fear of this street was the main reason we moved. When you are on the side of the road w/o a sidewalk, you have to walk across people’s yards to get to the crosswalks – and some of them are not traversable (bushes right up to the street, fencing, etc.). Pedestrians have to either walk in the road or jaywalk. Leaving our house for a run or to ride bikes meant Froggering it across the very busy street to get to the sidewalk. It was incredibly scary, and we saw multiple car wrecks directly in front of our house and nearly had a U-Haul trailer overturn in our yard – cars drive on it like it’s an interstate when, at least for that stretch, it’s a residential street.

  10. I drove past right after it happened and it looked pretty bad just by the way people were runing to the scene. He could have crossed at the light at the Publix and crossed to the sidewalk on the north side. Instead they were on a hill and would not have been visible to a driver as they crossed through the intersection.

  11. Definitely one of the most dangerous streets in the Decatur-metro area. It makes me nervous even driving on it, given how narrow it is. Truly a tragedy.

  12. Sadly, I seriously doubt that the actions of the first driver attempting to be ‘nice’ will ever be brought out as wrong. Police ticket speed and aggressive driving and sadly basic traffic law is thrown out the window. I see this over and over in Atlanta where drivers with the right of way stop to show ‘courtesy’ seeming oblivious to the fact that they are violating traffic law.

    1. The “courtesy” error also happens when you’re driving and waiting to make a left hand turn off of a 4-lane road like Clairemont and traffic is backed up so the courtesy driver motions you to go on through WITHOUT knowing whether or not traffic is coming up in the lane to their right which you cannot see because they are blocking the view. They motion wildly for you to go, you motion wildly that you don’t want to, back and forth, cars start honking behind them, behind you. I wish my car had a scrolling banner on which I could put “Thanks, but no thanks, I can’t see around you.”.

      1. +2. I have seen not one but two bad accidents happen that way over the years. I don’t turn left if I can’t see both lanes.

  13. Big difference between basic traffic law and basic traffic safety. The driver who struck the pedestrian should have maintained control of their vehicle.

    This residential street became a 4-lane highway without accommodating adequate roadway design. Therein lies the trouble. This street should be returned to two lanes. Emory and CDC commuters may (to put it kindly) adjust their driving habits.

    1. Are you aware of some facts the driver did not maintain control of their vehicle? Physics has a limit to the braking capability of any auto. If the person stepped out in front of them with ten feet in between- not much they could have done. The police seem to have agreed and let the dirver go on his way home.

    2. “The driver who struck the pedestrian should have maintained control of their vehicle.”

      Either you know facts that I don’t or you are out of line to blame the driver. If you are driving 40 mph and a pedestrian steps out immediately in front of you from a blindspot, you are going to strike the pedestrian. Control of the vehicle has absolutely nothing to do with it. As the driver isn’t being charged, I can only assume the driver wasn’t at fault.

      1. I would blame myself if I struck a pedestrian while operating my vehicle. That’s why I tend to drive a bit slower than most people on neighborhood streets. That’s all. Just speculation on my part that the accident could have been avoided.

        1. Tom, I’d blame myself to the day that I leave this earth if I hit someone. That doesn’t mean he’s at fault. Speed is usually the culprit, but doesn’t sound like the only factor here. The accident could’ve been avoided if they used crosswalks and if the other driver didn’t stop to allow them to jaywalk. Curious as to what happened with the “nice” driver who stopped to let them cross.

      2. Someone not being charged doesn’t mean they weren’t responsible at some level, it just means they couldn’t PROVE they broke the law. I don’t know what happened in this most recent case, but after the death of Paul Taylor, I read some really shocking things about the person that hit him, that left me shaking my head in disbelief about the way that the investigation was handled.

          1. No charges filed. The guy who hit him was a multiple offender (busted even after he struck Mr. Taylor I believe) but they never tested him for anything, only Taylor.

          2. The Decatur Police thoroughly investigated it (and called in other agencies to review their work). Unfortunately, by law, they had no grounds for charging the man who hit and killed Paul Taylor. It’s understandable why folks could think the DPD botched things if they’re only going by what they’ve read and don’t personally know the high caliber of ability, character, and heart within the DPD. The DPD’s official statements on the case omitted some contributing factors. That was a deliberate choice. Although the DPD knew they’d be seen as having blown the investigation, they chose to take those lumps in order to spare Paul Taylor’s grieving family and friends further pain by providing fodder for online commenters to casually pick apart. (I’m looking squarely at Patch. DM was more than ready to provide a forum geared to helping folks to better understand what had happened, including why the DPD couldn’t just insist on testing the driver, despite his record. DPD held firm on their decision.) It’s been a year, and it’s time that folks know this part of it when reflecting back on Paul Taylor’s tragic death.

            1. “including why the DPD couldn’t just insist on testing the driver”

              I feel like that should apply when pulling someone over for a broken tail light, but this was a fatality. It sounds like you have more information than I do, so why was that?

              1. Daydreamer- Even in a fatality, there has to be probable cause (meaning, the driver has to be showing signs of possible impairment).

            2. I could not agree with your assessment of DPD more. A little over a year ago, my motorcycle was stolen out of my front yard. When the replacement was targeted two days after purchase, DPD responded with full force. Without advertising specifics, let me say that they gave me individualized attention. Much more significant that enhanced patrols…
              If they were as responsive to a property crime, I am sure that the tragedy that befell Mr. Taylor was treated with the respect that it is due.

            3. “Unfortunately, by law, they had no grounds for charging the man who hit and killed Paul Taylor. It’s understandable why folks could think the DPD botched things if they’re only going by what they’ve read and don’t personally know the high caliber of ability, character, and heart within the DPD. The DPD’s official statements on the case omitted some contributing factors. That was a deliberate choice.”

              This is not making sense to me. If the caliber of ability, character, and heart were in play, and if any contributing factors were left out of the report…then what am I really to think of the ability, character, and heart? And, if I am to believe the DPD has a high caliber of ability, character, and heart, which in fact I do…then I would be disappointed if contributing factors were left out. My hunch is that their high caliber of ability, character, and heart actually WERE in play and that their investigation indicated that no charges should be filed…no “unfortunately” about it. Sometimes stuff happens. It doesn’t always have to be someone other than the victims fault.

              1. ” It doesn’t always have to be someone other than the victims fault.”

                I absolutely agree with you, and “botched” wasn’t my word for the record, I simply had questions, and Deanne sounds like she has answers which is what prompted my further inquiry. My only recollection of what happened is from the things I read when everything first happened about the driver, and then his behavior even after the event happened.

                But here’s a scenario. You have 2 witnesses to an event, one dead, and the person who hit him telling the story. The person telling the story has a recent and multiple history with drugs/alcohol/law enforcement etc… It’s absolutely true and possible Person A. could have had a heart attack, or accident, before Person B. struck them, but in a fatality it just seems like it would be normal to test the driver for any sort of impairment, medication, drugs, alcohol especially considering their recent history, that’s all, no more, no less.

              2. KeithF- Your hunch is correct.

                (So that it’s clear for everyone: The DPD’s public statement said it was an accident and left it at that. The contributing factors were in the DPD’s investigative report, some of which were reported by media, and commenters mentioned others.)

  14. This is so sad. We need some serious traffic calming on this stretch of road. What will it take to get some action on this?

    1. +1. Can we get media involved to draw attention to this extremely dangerous area? Maybe at least some more lights to slow people down, flashing caution lights, something? It’s far too narrow for the lanes that are there. Part of this stretch is in the City…maybe someone there can get things rolling to work with Dekalb to make it safer for everyone.

  15. I live on N Decatur Rd, a block east of the accident, in Emory Woods. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost been hit, in the crosswalk, when I had the light, in front of Publix. The Emory/hospital/VA employees coming into work in the morning are the worst… they block the intersection at Webster, they turn right onto Webster without stopping when the light is red, and they sometimes turn right from the left lane! They have almost hit most of my neighbors, my father, my wife, and my brother in law.

    It wouldn’t bother me if someone blew up the bridge in front of Landover and these maniacs had to take another way into work. I’ve thought about sitting at the intersection with a carton of eggs in the afternoon and hitting every car that ran the N Decatur Rd/Webster red light on their way home from work… I would run out of eggs pretty quickly.

  16. How many people have to die before changes are made? As others have said, a ROAD DIET is necessary. Pedestrians should always take the highest priority since they are the most vulnerable. Complete the street and cars will be slower and you’ll start to see the vibrancy of this area shine when bicycles and pedestrians are given their rightful place at the table.

    Let us please finally learn from these tragedies and fix it so it never happens again. R.I.P. Paul Taylor and this poor soul.

  17. I just emailed the Commuter Dude from channel 11 with the following. If everyone who responded to this post were to do the same, maybe we can get them to push for a safer stretch of road.

    “A pedestrian was killed on N. Decatur Rd near my street yesterday. He was crossing N. Decatur at a spot where there is sidewalk on only one side of the street. Even where there is a sidewalk, pedestrians are dangerously close to fast moving traffic. Please take a camera crew to N. Decatur and Landover and stand on the sidewalk at the creek. If you can bring some attention to this dangerous situation, you might save lives. Thank you.”

    1. J_T…what I get from this is “crossing the street outside of a crosswalk is perfectly LEGAL in most places, as long as the pedestrians yield to traffic.”

      So what’s your point?

  18. There are a lot of small cities in Georgia that annex road and highway right-of-ways to provide for additional law enforcement jurisdictions or provide ways to allow property owners to spot annex in. (Hiram, Braselton, etc) Not that appropriate, but If City of Decatur were to annex this stretch of Right-of-way, they could take charge of the road and push through shoulder enhancements (retaining walls, sidewalks, new guardrail or something) or a road diet and narrow the road to widen the sidewalk and shoulder. DeKalb County sure isn’t going to do it. Reversible lanes may be needed, but this stretch is so hostile to pedestrians in a very pedestrian heavy area it is shameful it has gotten to this point, I think there was another pedestrian fatality here a few years ago too. I sort of think this is a case where the commuters can suck it.

  19. Just to make things worse, the pedestrian killed is evidently a visitor from abroad, according to Patch. So perhaps he was not familiar with either the danger of that stretch of road or with where crosswalks were located. The lack of sidewalk and the guardrail with no shoulder probably signal to an outsider that walking along the side of the road isn’t done.

  20. Is there more info on the Paul Taylor incident? I thought I had read somewhere that he fell in the road and the driver had no time to react. If that is not the case I would be interested in the whole story.

  21. I live near here – usually traveling down N Decatur(away from Publix to Superior) where I make a right turn onto Superior during the PM rush hour. The fact that I still have the rear bumper on my car is a miracle. The number of people who fly down this hill then change lanes from left to right when other drivers attempt to turn left onto Superior is amazing. I have at least one horn blown or middle finger salute given a week when I have the audacity to use my turn signal, slow down and make a right turn into my neighborhood!!

    I enjoy walking and running and would love to walk to the Publix, but the sheer speed and aggression of drivers combined with the need to cross N Decatur and then cross back over again at the Webster Rd/Publix intersection keeps me in my car for a less than 1 mile trip.

    While traffic on this road is terrible, some traffic calming would be a welcome relief. With a Emory bus stop here and many individuals in the apartments along Webster on foot, I am amazed we don’t have more fatalities than the two in the past two years.

    Condolences to the family for their loss and hopes that it is the last before some attention is given to this dangerous area.

  22. Dear Decatur community:

    My name is Ke Wu, the son of the victim who was killed in the Jun 20 accident. I am an Emory student and my parents came to visit me from China three months ago. The three months was such a happy time for us until the tragic accident consumed my father’s life. My father was a really nice man. His tragic pass-away was an unbearable struck to my family and left endless grief with us. Especially my mom, who witnessed the fatal accident, came here happily with my father but could only bring his ashes back to China.

    I also learned about Paul Taylor’s tragedy from your discussions. To prevent more pedestrian fatalities, we believe that the local government should be called for more attention on the road redesign for that area. As many of you have mentioned, the area would be a great place to walk around if the sidewalks and crosswalks were better constructed for pedestrains. My family would like to take an initiative for such actions. If you have similar concerns or any suggestions, please contact me via [email protected].

    We sincerely appreciate your condolences to us. May my beloved Dad rest in peace.

Comments are closed.