5 pedestrians killed on New Kings Road in 2 months

Push for safety improvements after man dies in hit-and-run crash early Wednesday

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man who died in a hit-and-run crash early Wednesday morning is the third pedestrian who has been killed on New Kings Road this month and the fifth in the last two months.

Bradley Jay Slama, 52, of Orange Park, was trying to cross New Kings Road at Richardson Road just after midnight when he was hit by a vehicle and the driver drove off, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Slama was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they have recovered the Chevrolet Tahoe that hit Slama, and traffic homicide detectives are still investigating. 

The Northside Coalition, a newly-formed group, is now calling for city leaders to do something about the high number of pedestrian deaths. 

"We simple need not to sit back and do nothing. It's time for us to act," said Ben Frazier, the head of the Northside Coalition. 

Frazier passionately pleaded for safety measures along New Kings Road.

"Unfortunately, we're not investing in the kind of infrastructure that's necessary to prevent these senseless, gut-wrenching and tragic deaths," Frazier said.

Last month, two people were struck and killed on New Kings Road when they tried to cross the street near Finch Avenue, police said. A memorial remains in memory of Selina Rivers-Tobler, 41, and Anthony Jacobs, 57.

Sam Abay, a friend of the two victims, said enough is enough, asking how many people will lose their lives before safety improvements are finally made.

"Still, I have my pain. I see his video every day. We were close," Abay said. "They should do something out there -- more police officers, more lights."

Police said Vicky DeYoung, 45, was found dead as the result of a hit-and-run on New Kings Road, just south of Interstate 205, on Nov. 3. Robbery suspect George Keener was later arrested and admitting to running her down, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Then on Nov. 5, police said, Patricia Holt, 28, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on New Kings Road.

"What we're dealing with right here is an infrastructure problem. There are not enough sidewalks. There are not enough street lights. There are not enough traffic signals," Frazier said. 

Though city officials need to do more, Frazier said, there also things that both drivers and pedestrians can do.

"We all need to wake up and come together, the city as a whole, this community. We're not pinpointing fingers at anybody, except to say it's time to live up to our commitment by helping people of this community by attempting to save lives," he said. "We must put our heads together, utilizing great logic, great wisdom, great intellect and great judgment to prevent deaths and save lives."

Anyone with information about Slama's death or any of the hit-and-runs is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).

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