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DENVER (CBS4) – On Wednesday, Denver Streets Partnership, along with the Denver Bicycle Lobby, held a bike ride and a walk of silence to honor those killed in preventable traffic crashes on Denver streets over the last year.

“A total of 114 people have been killed since January of 2021,” said Jill Locantore, the executive director of Denver Streets Partnership.

In 2021, there were 84 traffic deaths in the city, the most since the city’s Vision Zero campaign started. This year alone, there have been 30 deaths on Denver streets– five of those in the month of May. Currently, the city is on track to exceed last year’s numbers.

(credit: CBS)

“Unfortunately, I know firsthand how tragic it is when someone is killed either walking or riding their bicycle,” said Denver resident Keith Reed.

A little more than a year ago, Reed’s wife Teri of 40 years was killed in Oklahoma when she was leaving work trying to cross the street to get to her car. Reed relocated to Colorado just six weeks ago.

“It sucks. It’s terrible. What do you say? It turns our whole world upside down,” he said. “For me or for my sons, to try to get by day to day now, and have to deal with cars or traffic or whatever, it’s a struggle.”

In 2017, Denver’s mayor launched the Vision Zero Campaign with the goal of having zero traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2030. In 2021, the city said it completed 160 projects to improve safety. While the program has made improvements, Locantore said there’s much more work ahead.

(credit: CBS)

“We need to refocus attention on these major arterials like Colfax Avenue, like Federal Boulevard, and we need to fundamentally transform how these streets function,” she said.

Locantore added that means investing in bus infrastructure and other transit services, which would make street designs safer, because lives depend on it.

“Traffic deaths are preventable. It’s just a matter of political will,” Locantore said. “Do we value human life and safety over the speed and convenience of driving our own cars?”

News Source: cbslocal.com

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81-Year-Old Leverett Woman Gets 2 Years Probation In Death of Belchertown Motorcyclist: DA

An 81-year-old woman avoided jail time after a jury on Thursday, Dec. 1, found her guilty of the death of a 57-year-old man in April 2020 after she caused him to crash his motorcycle.

Mary Nelson of Leverett was convicted of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation and will serve two years of probation and give up her license for 15 years, the Northwestern District Attorney's Office said. 

Nelson was accused of killing 57-year-old Kevin Douville of Belchertown after she failed to yield to oncoming traffic and turned left in front of Douville's motorcycle on Long Plain Road (Route 63), the prosecutor said. Karen Mercier, Douville’s partner who was also on the bike, was seriously injured in the crash, the prosecutor's office said. 

The jury deliberated for about an hour before returning the guilty verdict. 

“The Commonwealth is thankful that this verdict brings a measure of justice and closure for the Douville family,” said Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Joseph Webber in a news release. “This outcome was made possible by the hard work and thorough investigation of the Leverett Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police.”

Douville's family wrote in his obituary that he was a lifelong gearhead who loved to work on Harley-Davidson motorcycles almost as much as he loved riding them. They called him a talented craftsman with a humble heart. 

"Kevin made things better," the obituary said. "He made people better. He fixed things that were broken and improved things that were not. Everything around him – everyone around him – was better because of him. ... To say that he will always be missed is an understatement. To say that he will always be loved and remembered falls woefully short."

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