ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Terry Batley, a resident at the Salvation Army, has no reliable transportation, causing her to walk virtually everywhere. As a pedestrian, she said the streets and sidewalks can be terrifying.
“I’ve nearly gotten hit,” said Terry. “It’s very scary, because people are not paying attention, they’re on their phones or texting.”
This year continues to be Abilene’s deadliest on records for traffic and pedestrian fatalities. At least 20 pedestrians have been hit-four of those passing away from their injuries. Marcus Dudley, Chief of Police, spoke to KTAB/KRBC about this increase.
“The traffic fatalities we’ve experienced this year have reached an all-time high for our department, and that’s quite concerning,” explained Dudley.
In an effort to combat these tragedies, United Way of Abilene has partnered up with the Abilene Police Department and Salvation Army to give out bright, reflective beanies to those in need.
“We thought that that was an excellent way for us to be able to let folks know that we care about their safety,” Dudley explained. “We recognize that we can also be helpful by some as simple as giving them a reflective hat to make them more visible to traffic.”
In the past, reflective vests have been handed out. This year it’s beanies, with a dual purpose. Cathy Ashby, President of United Way Abilene, said she hopes these beanies will help in more ways than one.
“Hopefully they will serve the purpose of keeping them warm, because we have a cold snap tomorrow and also be seen as they’re walking around town,” Ashby said.
Terry said she’s thankful for the city of Abilene’s giving spirit, but also wants to remind drivers of pedestrians in the city.
“Look out for us. We are on the street, we have no choice,” Terry said.
If you are interested in a beanie, you may contact the Salvation Army Social Services Center at (325) 677-1408, or visit their facility (1726 Butternut Street) for more information.