Popular but treacherous shortcut sees dozens skip crosswalk - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Popular but treacherous shortcut sees dozens skip crosswalk daily

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

One pedestrian said the temptation to avoid a busy Shreveport crosswalk and use a popular shortcut instead, overtakes dozens of people every day.

For a grandmother and her grandson, taking the shortcut turned tragic Wednesday.

The two were hit by a car on Kings Highway near Linwood Avenue and that grandmother Janette Johnson, 55, was pinned underneath a white Cadillac. Her grandson was hit by the same car.

According to officials at University Health in Shreveport Janette is listed in critical condition. Her 5-year-old grandson, Messiah Johnson, is also being treated at the same hospital, with non-life threatening injures.

Shreveport Police said the duo was hit by an eastbound Cadillac CTS at 1:45 p.m. The next day, several people could be spotted - including children - crossing the same busy portion of Kings Highway, not far from the sight of Wednesday's crash. That's where Good Samaritans had rushed to help rescue the Johnsons.

"Good Samaritans along with the Shreveport Fire Department, they were able to lift the vehicle and physically remove the woman from beneath it," said Cpl. Marcus Hines, Shreveport Police Department spokesman.

Although Janette suffered critical injuries in the accident, that didn't stop others from crossing Kings at the same place, outside the crosswalk. The distance from the scene of the accident to the nearest crosswalk is 169 feet.

That's too far of a walk for some pedestrians, who prefer just using the shortcut, right in front of a Burger King restaurant. And that's not the only reason some pedestrians prefer that route.

"Personally, that's safer down there than right here," Ronda Robbins said.

Robbins is no fan of the intersection at Linwood and Kings. Robbins described almost getting hit recently by a left-turning driver as she was walking in the crosswalk.

"I went, 'Stop, stop!' And he goes, 'I'm sorry. I'm not thinking.'"

The city posted a sign in the area for eastbound Kings Highway traffic that reads: "Reduce Speed Ahead." The city reports that 23,695 vehicles travel through the intersection every day.

One witness said he sees at least one close call every day involving a pedestrian using the shortcut, instead of the crosswalk.

As for Wednesday's crash, the driver of the Cadillac, 67-year old Justine Baker of Shreveport, was taken to University Health Shreveport for routine toxicology tests required by state law. She has not been cited in the crash.

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