Pedestrian deaths in Ada County peaked in 2017

Five pedestrians in Ada County died after being struck by vehicles in 2017 — a six-year high in annual pedestrian deaths in the county, according to state crash data.

Four of the five fatal crashes were in Boise, and the fifth was in Eagle.

Annual pedestrian deaths in Ada County ranged from two to four during from 2012 to 2016, according to Idaho Transportation Department data.

Details in state crash reports from the five deaths in 2017 point to poor, possibly criminal, decisions on the part of drivers and/or pedestrians. Two drivers have been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.

Commonalities in at least four of the five incidents: fading light/darkness and drugs and/or alcohol.

Intoxicants aren’t only an issue for drivers. Just as there’s a limit for how much alcohol Idaho drivers can have in their system (.08 BAC), pedestrians who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs “to a degree that renders them a hazard” can be charged with a misdemeanor if they are walking in the street (sidewalk is permitted), according to Idaho state code.

In 2016, there were 71 crashes involving pedestrians in the county, including 19 in which victims suffered “incapacitating injuries,” according to ITD data. Those are injuries that keep a person from walking, driving or doing normal daily activities.

Pedestrian crash numbers in the county have ranged from a low of 43 in 2010 to a high of 80 in 2007. Data for 2017 is not yet available.

Here’s a recap of the five fatal cases, and their current status.

▪  Kelly Joy Hall

The 57-year-old Boise woman was struck near Interstate 84’s Broadway exit early on the morning of April 5.

At about 4:20 a.m., Hall was walking two dogs south on Market Street near Amity Road when a small pickup truck that was traveling the same direction hit her, police said.

The 40-year-old driver was estimated to be driving 42-49 mph in a 2000 Mazda B3000 at the time of the collision, the crash report says. The posted speed limit is 25 mph.

Hall was walking in an area that doesn’t have street lights, and she was dressed in dark clothing, police noted.

She tested positive for alcohol, amphetamine and methamphetamine at the time of the collision, according to the crash report. She tested at .13 blood alcohol content.

An officer on the scene said the driver called 911 to report the crash and summon paramedics. Hall died of blunt force trauma, the coroner said.

The driver showed no signs of impairment, and toxicology tests showed he had no alcohol or drugs in his system, police said. He was not cited or charged.

▪  Menite Milien

The 33-year-old was on a city sidewalk when she was hit by a pickup that left the road and jumped the curb near South Maple Grove Road and West Brookview Court, according to police.

The crash was reported at 6:47 p.m. Oct. 1.

Darrell Jackson, the 58-year-old driver of the 2002 Ford Ranger, was driving south on Maple Grove when he drove onto the sidewalk, the crash report says. Milien was walking south on the sidewalk.

After hitting Milien, the truck continued and hit a light pole before coming to rest on the road. The impact sheared off the pole at the base.

Jackson was taken to a hospital with minor injures. He tested positive for drugs, but the crash report did not specify what kind.

Jackson was later charged with vehicular manslaughter. He’s scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 31 before Judge David Manweiler.

▪  Robert K. Olinger

The 75-year-old was crossing Broadway Avenue at Richmond Street at about 9:40 p.m. Oct. 15 when he was hit by a car.

Olinger was walking to the east side of Broadway. It was dark but street lights were on, the crash report says. Road conditions were dry and clear.

A 22-year-old man was driving a light blue 2007 Honda Civic north on Broadway when he struck Olinger. Tests showed that the driver did not have any alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the collision, police said. He was not cited or charged.

Olinger tested positive for alcohol. His blood alcohol content was .178. He died of blunt force trauma, the coroner said.

▪  Madeline “Maddie” Duskey

The 24-year-old was struck by a pickup as she crossed Eagle Road at Riverside Drive in Eagle.

The crash was reported just after midnight on Nov. 18.

One of the deputies investigating the scene told prosecutors that Duskey appeared to have been in the crosswalk when she was hit, according to court records. Ada County Sheriff’s officials said they do not know if Duskey activated the crosswalk or if the traffic light was red or green when the truck passed through the intersection.

Adam Paulson was the driver of the 2016 Chevrolet Silverado that hit Duskey.

An investigator conducted a field sobriety test on Paulson after detecting a strong odor of alcohol on the driver’s breath, the deputy prosecutor said at the probable cause hearing. On the breath test, Paulson blew .197, .158, .174 and .164, but the first reading had insufficient breath for a sample.

Blood tests showed Paulson’s blood-alcohol level was .213, according to a deputy prosecutor. The Ada County coroner declined to release Duskey’s BAC, citing open investigation.

Paulson is being held at the Ada County Jail on $1 million bond. He has a preliminary hearing before Judge John Hawley Jr. at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 25.

Duskey is survived by two young children. A YouCaring.com account was set up for her family. Nearly $32,000 has been donated by 458 people.

▪  Barbara M. Whittaker

The 68-year-old was hit while in a crosswalk on West Ustick Road and North Constantine Street in Boise on Dec. 19, police said.

The collision was reported at 5:30 p.m. Whittaker was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police said the driver was an 18-year-old Boise woman, who was at the wheel of a Kia Spectra.

The collision is still under investigation. Police will forward their report to prosecutors, who will review it for possible citations or charges.

Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413, @KatyMoeller