Norfolk to upgrade Tidewater Drive after fatal wreck

Norfolk police say they received report of an accident with injuries in the 5600 block of Tidewater Drive, around 5:23 a.m. Wednesday.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City officials said they will re-stripe the crosswalk and potentially upgrade the pedestrian lighting to improve visibility on Tidewater Drive after a fatal auto-pedestrian accident Wednesday morning.

The northbound lanes near the intersection of Norview Avenue were closed around 5:30 a.m. after police said they received a report of a wreck with injuries.

Tidewater Drive auto-pedestrian ax

Norfolk police said 62-year-old Gary W. Bess Sr. of the 5600 block of Tidewater Drive was crossing the road along the pedestrian crosswalk when he was struck by a Chevrolet pickup truck. Police said the truck was traveling northbound on Tidewater Drive, through a green light, when it struck Bess.

A walker and a silver pickup truck with a dented hood were visible at the scene by a WAVY News crew.

Bess was transported to a local hospital where he later died. Police said the driver remained at the scene.

According to a city spokeswoman, the director of public works, a safety engineer and a traffic engineer met Wednesday to talk about the intersection where the crash took place.

From Jan. 1, 2010 to Feb. 3, 2015, 18 vehicle crashes were reported in that area of Tidewater Drive. Norfolk police spokesman Daniel Hudson gave 10 On Your Side the accident breakdown:

  • 2010 – Two accidents
  • 2011 – Three accidents
  • 2012 – Eight accidents
  • 2013 – Two accidents
  • 2014 – Three accidents

Spokeswoman Lori Crouch said city officials are aware that intersection is an issue, that improvements were made previously, but more fact-gathering needs to be done. Crouch said the city put a new crossing signal head there, which provides a pedestrian countdown display, and lengthened the crossing time for the intersection.

Police said the results of the investigation into Wednesday morning’s crash will be turned over to the Commonwealth’s attorney for review and consideration of charges.

The northbound lanes of Tidewater Drive, between Norview and Willow Wood, were closed for almost three hours while police investigated.

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