Tourist dies after being struck in crosswalk at Palouse, Main streets

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A 70-year-old German tourist died Monday evening after being struck by a motorist on East Main Street at about 5:30 p.m. Dr. Horst-Peter Rothar was in Walla Walla as part of a planned bike tour across the U.S., according to police.

Rothar was crossing East Main Street in a marked cross walk at the intersection of Palouse Street, according to a police report. Driver Michael Cantu, 23, turned west onto Main from Palouse and struck Rothar with his 1992 Ford pickup. Police said this morning that they are investigating the crash, but the sun may have been a factor in the collision.

“No citations have been issued at this time,” said Tim Bennett, spokesman for the Walla Walla Police Department.

Rothar was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center where he died from massive trauma to his head and trunk, according to Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood. Greenwood said Rothar’s family in Germany has been notified.

Comments

namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

WOW - how fast was this dude going?

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oldguyonabike 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Another dead pedestrian and WWPD leads with the sunshine defense.

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mossyrocks 1 month, 2 weeks ago

PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE. I WALK TO WORK EVERY DAY. IT AMAZES ME HOW MANY NEAR MISSES I HAVE EXPERIENCED. I ALSO SEE DRIVERS RUNNING RED LIGHTS ALL THE TIME. CRAZY DRIVERS! PAY ATTENTION!!!!!

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stvsngltn 1 month, 2 weeks ago

So sad and tragic ... my heart goes out to the victim, his family and also the driver. I don't know the circumstances of this incident, but regarding crosswalks, I've often noticed bike riders riding their bicycles across crosswalks when they should dismount and walk them across the street (if crossing from a sidewalk at a corner, for example). Am I right?

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tpeacock 1 month, 1 week ago

Depends on where you are as different municipalities have different laws regarding bikes. Many towns have laws stating no bikes on downtown sidewalks, so if you're downtown, you shouldn't be on the sidewalks and if using a crosswalk you WOULD have to dismount and walk your bike across.

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Calzaretta 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No. But even if that were the case how would the driver not see the cyclist?

Dan Calzaretta

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namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Unless if I'm missing something this gentleman was on foot and was in Walla Walla for a bike tour. I could be wrong but I read it 3 times - so tell me if I'm wrong?

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mossyrocks 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I don't see how the sun could be a factor. The driver was driving north on Palouse, then turning west onto Main, striking the elderly man. Sun sets in the west. Duh. While driving north and taking a left (west) turn he should have cleared the intersection/crosswalk before making his turn. Which means the driver was facing north. No sun glare there. Only once the driver was heading west would the sun have been in his eyes. Reckless driving.

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namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

And how fast was he traveling - victim died of massive head and trunk trauma? The driver wasn't doing 5mph to make the turn.

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treardon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I have been commuting by sneakers to work for about 3 years now, and many times have nearly been hit on the crosswalk between Super 1 and Jefferson Park. Drivers turning left onto 9th tend to focus on cars coming out of Super 1 rather that who is between the white lines. Fortunately, I have been nimble enough to leap out of the way.... so far.

Perhaps that was the problem in the incident at Main/Palouse- the driver simply didn't scan the crosswalk before turning.

It seems something should be done to increase crosswalk awareness on the part of Walla Walla motorists. Old dogs need to learn new tricks, or more pedestrians will get hurt.

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Calzaretta 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I have cycled across the US with my family and down the California coast with my son. We met hundreds of cyclists, and have invited many to stay with us in Walla Walla on their cycling adventures. All cycle tourists have stories of near misses and collisions. And in almost every instance the driver was being either overly aggressive, not attentive, or on the phone or texting.

I hope that Walla Walla does not start to earn the reputation of a place where cyclists are in danger. Although we don't know the specifics of this accident, it is important that we all take something from this tragedy.

Drivers: take a few extra seconds and look for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles. Put down the phone and don't text; it isn't worth someone else's life. And understand that bikes have a right to be on the road.

Cyclists: be obvious, wear bright clothing, ride like you have a target on your back. Don't talk on the phone while riding (I have seen this often in Walla Walla), and take the ear buds out so you can hear traffic. Is your music really worth your life?

My heart goes out to Dr. Rothar's family. If he was like all the touring cyclists I have met he was doing something he absolutely loved. I hope you can take some solace in the fact that he died doing something bold and adventurous.

Dan Calzaretta; http://www.shutupandpedal.org/

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kurtfr 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The collision happened @ approx 5:30pm. Sunset is at approx 8:30pm. As I write this, it is 5:00pm and eyeballing it, the sun is at about a 45 degree angle to the earth. How can the sun be a factor when you are looking at approx 0 degrees relative to the ground?

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Mochadelicious 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I'm sorry to hear about this tragic accident. I too have experienced close calls in the crosswalks of downtown Walla Walla. Hopefully this will serve as a reminder to both drivers and pedestrians to be more aware of their surroundings when at an intersection. Both parties should make eye contact with each other before stepping off the curb or turning the corner.

On another note, I realize cyclists have a legal right to be on the road, but I don't necessarily agree with it. I live on a rural road that is hilly and curvy and doesn't have much of a shoulder, yet it is a very popular road for cyclists (I presume because of how scenic it is). I drive the speed limit and slow down around corners, but I can't tell you how many close calls I've had with cyclists. The law may be on your side, but it won't save your life if you get hit.

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Calzaretta 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Mochadelicious,

I'm unsure what you are suggesting. Should cyclists be banned from certain roads?

Dan Calzaretta

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VinoTinto 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Walla Walla is not a pedestrian friendly town at all!!! The crosswalks on Main Street and downtown are too small for the size of the intersections. The cross walks should be larger and boldly painted yellow. Most of the cross walks are white and have faded so badly that it creates an unsafe environment for pedestrian and driver. Walla Walla can't maintain its roads or its cross walks.

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wwpl 1 month, 2 weeks ago

How tragic. His family must be heartbroken. I've never lived in a town where so many drivers don't even slow down for crosswalks. Is it ignorance of the law? Wasn't it about a year ago when the Whitman College employee was hit at that same intersection.?

True or False: There is a pedestrian crosswalk crossing Alder St. at Spokane Street (think: Goodwill - Library)

The answer is True. There is a pair of them. If you're on foot you'd be well advised to pretend they don't exist because my 23 year observation reveals that 70-80% of people plow right through them. Watch out.

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Mochadelicious 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Dan:

I'm not saying I know the answer to this problem...I'm just stating that I think there is a problem. For example, today while driving home, I rounded a sharp corner going about 30 mph, which is about 10 mph under the speed limit. All of a sudden there were two cyclists in my lane and I had to swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid hitting them. Thank goodness there were no other cars in the oncoming lane at the time, but just imagine if there was.

I think if I were a recreational cyclist, for my own safety, I would stick to the roads that had a bike lane or big enough shoulders to ride on. I can tell you that the majority of cyclists on my road are there for recreation and exercise, not because their only means of transportation is a bicycle and they're trying to get from point A to point B. It doesn't seem fair that cars who are going the speed limit and operating their vehicles in a responsible manner should be held liable legally for hitting a cyclist who chooses to ride on unsafe roads. I would also hate to be the one to deal with the emotional ramifications of hitting a cyclist. So, yes, maybe there should be certain roads made off limits to cyclists. To me, it's almost as ludicrous as letting cars drive on airplane runways.

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oldguyonabike 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It was the cyclists lane at that moment. You have a brake pedal. Use it.

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barracuda 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Oldguy....... That is one reason the council voted to NOT have a dedicated bike lane on Rose, Poplar, Myra, Dalles Miltary (just to name a few) etc. It does not a lot of science to realize just because a bike might be ok to ride in traffic, it does not make it too safe! There are not a lot of "do overs" in a bike/car accident. They put in a bike/walking path to keep the two apart! All new road construction is going with this design. All of CP's side of Rose, the new Myra road extension all to have extra wide walking paths to handle the bikes as well.

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downhillracer 1 month, 1 week ago

Regardless. The law is clear, cyclists have every right to be in the traffic lane with an expectation of reasonable safety. Teaching drivers to slow down on approach of a blind curve was standard, at one time.

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barracuda 1 month, 1 week ago

Obviously the "very clear" law alone is not enough to keep the bike riders safe.... Car/bike accidents are in the news every day......

It seems to be a smart idea to keep them as separate as possible....

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PearlY 1 month, 2 weeks ago

It seems to me that if you're going around a bend (or over a hill) and can't see what's on the other side, you should slow down enough that you could stop quickly if there was an obstruction on the other side of the bend. For all you know, there could be a stalled vehicle, a stray cow, or anything else there. Not saying I do it myself all the time, but it is the safe way to drive.

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Mochadelicious 1 month, 2 weeks ago

oldguyonabike:

I wouldn't have swerved into the oncoming lane if I actually had time to put on the brake. I would have used my break if I had seen them sooner but going around the corner at 30 mph and then being surprised by cyclists going 5-10 mph prevented that. It doesn't make sense to me to put 4000 lb. vehicles on the same roads as 20 lb. bicycles unless there is room for both (meaning bicycle lanes and wide shoulders).

With the amount of recreational cyclists on our road (and other rural roads I'm sure), an accident is bound to happen soon no matter how safe both parties think they are being.

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oldguyonabike 1 month, 2 weeks ago

With limited sight distances it is your responsibility to operate your vehicle properly. It sounds like you drive too fast for conditions. We all pay for the roads and we have plenty of them to share.

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Mochadelicious 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Too fast for "conditions"? Really? 10 mph less isn't enough? Am I supposed to go 10 mph around all curves and hills now because I don't know what's on the other side? How about you cyclists speed up to the actual speed limit so vehicles don't have to worry about making you a permanent fixture to our front bumpers every time we go around a corner or up over a hill? Oh wait. You can't do that. Yet you still insist on riding unsafe roads.

Yes, we all pay for the roads but I don't think that means we should be able to use any mode of transportation on them. Buy a car or a motorcycle that can actually keep up with the speed limit and I'd be happy to share (or ride on the shoulder or a bike lane which was my original point).

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oldguyonabike 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Your point misses the fact that a pedestrian who happened to be a cyclist was killed on the streets of Walla Walla. You are the one hating on bicyclists. I don't know what road you are driving too fast on for your driving skills, but you might want to take a defensive driving course.

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namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

If the pedestrian that was killed crossing the street had not been a cyclist would that have made the situation any different? He was crossing the street and no matter if he rode mopeds, bicycles or unicycles it was still a tragic accident. I'm a bicyclist but I definitely do not choose to ride in duo or down the middle of the road - which a lot of them do. Cyclist should show some responsibility in this as well and use some brains while they are at.

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wallyworldguy 1 month, 1 week ago

you are also missing a point. that is that it is against the law for cyclist to ride side by side. Yet every where you go you see them riding two or three abreast. Truth is there is a large percentage of inconsiderate cyclist in this town who run red lights, don't signal, and cut through traffic etc.

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tpeacock 1 month, 1 week ago

Sounds as if you're the one dong the hating, he has a point on the speed limit issue; I ride a motorcycle, but have ridden bikes and when out on the local back-roads have never had the idea it was okay or safe to ride anywhere but on the edge of the road if I couldn't do the posted speed limit. Keep riding with the idea that any traffic law is your saving grace, and no matter a bike or a motorcycle, your going to pay a steep price eventually. No hate, just good common sense.

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Mochadelicious 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I understand that about the pedestrian. I wasn't taking about that. If you read back my original response was to Calzaretta in regards to his opinion about how most cycle injuries are the fault of the driver.

You seem to be the one hating on drivers. With attitudes like yours, it's no wonder cyclists get screamed and clipped by drivers (so I hear). You seem to think cyclists have no responsibility at all for their own safety or the safety of others. It's always the drivers fault. Just as pedestrians are expected to use sidewalks or the shoulder to walk on, the same should be upheld for cyclists to use bike lanes and shoulders and not the middle of the lane.

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Calzaretta 1 month, 2 weeks ago

I understand what you are saying, but that is not the law now. The law gives a bicycle the right to use the lane. Most cyclists take this responsibility seriously. I'm sorry you have encountered rude cyclists. That is no excuse, however, to "clip" or endanger them. I'm sure you are not condoning this dangerous and potentially deadly activity.

Drivers get mad because a rider might slow them down. But think about it; if you need to slow to 10 mph behind a cyclist climbing a hill how much time are you actually losing? A minute or two on your trip? Is it worth endangering or possibly killing someone?

I am an avid touring cyclist. I know that I need to coexist on the roads with cars if I want to safely complete my trip. But I don't go out of my way to antagonize drivers just because I have the right to the road (and I DO have the right to the road).

Look, we all need to take a deep breath and calm down. We CAN all share the road.

Dan Calzaretta

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GeneandCassie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Ah for the goode olde daze; just horses and buggies and walking shoes clinking on the pavement....

Maybe time to return to those golden daze of yesteryear........

Hi Ho Silver, Away!!!!!

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namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Sorry - it would be "Back in the saddle again!

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GeneandCassie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

The phrase might have actually been 'those thrilling daze of yesteryear....'

The phrase was part of The Lone Ranger's starting scenes on the TV show......

Now those were the daze......

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namvet60 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You are correct - I was just indicating that Gene Autry back then - they were all big programs. Not meaning to demean your theory but those were the daze . . . . . . . . .

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tpeacock 1 month, 1 week ago

In Spokane the law states that a pedestrian has to clear the crosswalk entirely before cars can continue their travel thru the crosswalk, yet there isn't a day that goes by I see driver's waiting until the pedestrian clears the lane the car needs to advance forward. I fail to understand why it is people can't take an extra 10-20 seconds for pedestrians to get all the way across, half the time I'm in a rush to get to the next place I am headed to, yet I wait; it's the law. This law is discussed on TV regularly, it's in the newspaper now and then, but then it's made awfully clear cell phone use is against the law, yet once again, I see many drivers doing this. We have a few pedestrians killed here each year, some their fault, some the driver's. More attentive driving and less breaking of laws put in place is the simple cure, but just watch driver's habits daily and the myriad of driving laws broken, and it becomes clear it's getting worse before it will ever get better.

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pdywgn 1 month, 1 week ago

If traffic is light it is actually safer to cross mid block, but that is illegal. The law forces the pedestrian to cross where drivers have multiple distractions.

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greest 1 month, 1 week ago

My drivers' ed teacher taught me to drive around blind curves no faster than what I could stop should something unexpected be in the lane. That could be a deer, a cow, a rock which rolled down the hillside, a person (or persons) on a bicycle. And it is legal for bicycles to ride two across on most roads and streets.

The roads and streets--except for most Interstate Highways--are not only for motor vehicles. Horse-drawn vehicles, people walking, and riding bicycles were on many of those streets before the automobile arrived and the laws have NOT revoked the rights of the classes of users with a longer history on the roads and streets of WW County.

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chicoli 1 month, 1 week ago

If this driver is not prosecuted we'll be missing an opportunity to learn a great deal about what really happened. Also the opportunity to deter other drivers from doing similar offenses!

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barracuda 1 month, 1 week ago

Wow......... Prosecute just so we can find out what really happened? So, the driver has to hire a lawyer just and go through the pain, expense and humiliation just so Paco/Chicoli can know what happened......... Oh, I mean, so WE ALL can know what really happened. Wow......... Great logic....

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chicoli 1 month, 1 week ago

In a civil society it is a no brainer that any prosecution, if decided as probable cause, pursues justice for the victim. No prosecutor will just do it just to accommodate Paco's wishes. Moreover, Justice transcends the fairness to the victim and permeates Society as a whole. As I said, it serves as a deterrent, and cements the trust of the citizens in their legal institutions.

But if I have to elaborate on this obvious, simple process, just to please barracuda, then barracuda has a problem, my friend

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carcrazy 1 month, 1 week ago

And Paco will be in the front row yelling: "Off with his head!"

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chicoli 1 month, 1 week ago

If I could, I would! We live in a civilized society, therein our responsibility to utilize our democratic institutions, so I would not yell off with his "cojones" , and would've waited for the veridic like a civilized citizen.

Again, you're always in the periphery, always trolling, never contributing an intelligent, intellectual gift to society. You should write a letter to the editors to see how far your intellect goes. Well, maybe I'm asking too much from you! After all there is so much juice you can get out of a turnip...if any!

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carcrazy 1 month, 1 week ago

Since you have monopolized all of the intellectual gifts to society, I have nothing to offer but little snippets that give you more opportunities to show us what it's like to live in your bubble.

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chicoli 1 month ago

You're right! You have nothing to offer but "little snippets" of venom, which is what you've been doing since you started your vituperous, cheap shots a long time ago. But I believe you won't stop as you seem to secretly derive some pervert, kinky pleasure out of it. "Post-nography" is a hard habit to break, my friend!

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pdywgn 1 month ago

Interesting you are finding this guy guilty "Off with his head", but Bergdahl you get all innocent until proven guilty article 32 hearing.

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namvet60 1 month ago

Your absolutely correct pdywgn - the hypocrisy is only noticeable from certain people and some others think they are exempt.

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DJ 1 week, 1 day ago

First of all I'd like to correct the article above - the name of the tourist was Dr. Horst-Peter Rother, not Rothar.
Horst-Peter was my boss at Amdahl Germany from 2001 until 2004 when I left the company. Actually he was so much more than a boss - he was a paternal friend to me. I can't describe how sad I am loosing this warm-hearted, humorous and sympathetic person. My thoughts are with his family - his wife Gaby, his daughter Meike and his son-in-law Erkan. From the bottom of my heart I wish them strength in this difficult time.
Even weeks after this terrible accident the family does not have any explanation what really happened and who was responsible for the death of Horst-Peter. If anyone in this forum can provide more information please share it here.
After the first investigations and the autopsy were finished Horst-Peter was cremated and transferred home. The funeral was held on July 16 at the Waldfriedhof in Darmstadt, Germany: Google Maps Link

None

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DJ 1 week, 1 day ago

First of all I'd like to correct the article above - the name of the tourist was Dr. Horst-Peter Rother, not Rothar.
Horst-Peter was my boss at Amdahl Germany from 2001 until 2004 when I left the company. Actually he was so much more than a boss - he was a paternal friend to me. I can't describe how sad I am loosing this warm-hearted, humorous and sympathetic person. My thoughts are with his family - his wife Gaby, his daughter Meike and his son-in-law Erkan. From the bottom of my heart I wish them strength in this difficult time.
Even weeks after this terrible accident the family does not have any explanation what really happened and who was responsible for the death of Horst-Peter. If anyone in this forum can provide more information please share it here.
After the first investigations and the autopsy were finished Horst-Peter was cremated and transferred home. The funeral was held on July 16 at the Waldfriedhof in Darmstadt: Google Maps Link

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