ORMOND BY THE SEA, Fla. – A recently published list from Smart Growth America ranked the area of Daytona and Ormond Beach as the fifth most dangerous in the U.S. for pedestrians.
The problem has become a fight for the family of Hannah Curran in Volusia County.
“Hannah’s my daughter and I’ll never get to see her again because this place was not safe enough for her to cross the street,” said her mother, Cathy Knowlen.
Curran, 15, was hit and killed by a car in February in a crosswalk in Ormond by the Sea. Investigators said she was rollerblading in the marked crosswalk when a man driving north hit her.
Her parents now want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“We walked out there and when we walked out there, we just realized that that whole entire area is just so unsafe,” Knowlen said.
Since the crash, foliage around the pedestrian signs has been chopped down.
“They were out instantly chopping things away for days and days,” said Curran’s father, Tim Curran.
Curran’s parents said their neighbors have since shared concerns about the safety of crossing A1A in the area, even with the crosswalks. Back in September, a 20-year-old was killed trying to cross the busy road just a few blocks north.
State highway patrol data shows pedestrian crashes across Volusia County have totaled more than two dozen each of the last few years:
“It needs to start implementing red lights at crosswalks. Every crosswalk,” Knowlen said.
That idea stems from a push for legislation called Sophia’s Law. Sophia Nelson, 12, was hit and killed by a car in Satellite Beach in December of 2019. She was using a lit-up crosswalk at the time.
The law would require any roads with speed limits higher than 35 mph to change the flashing yellow lights on pedestrian signs to bright red.
“There’s lots of kids in the area. There’s lots of kids riding their bikes, there’s lots of people on their bikes. People don’t need to get hurt crossing the street to go to the beach. That’s why you’re here,” Knowlen said.
The House and Senate bills for Sophia’s Law were ultimately struck down last March but have been reintroduced. The Nelson family’s attorney told News 6 Sen. Keith Perry and Rep. Randy Fine are pushing it once again and the family is optimistic the Legislature will pass a law during this session.