Pedestrian Unable To Recover From Injuries

OCEAN CITY – A 21-year-old Easton man critically injured when struck by a car on Coastal Highway near 33rd Street early Sunday morning died at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Tuesday night, becoming the first pedestrian fatality in the resort in 2007.

Tyler Adams, 21, of Easton, and a friend, Dale Blankenship, 21, also of Easton, ran across Coastal Highway between 32nd and 33rd streets from east to west around 1:45 a.m. last Sunday when they were struck by a southbound vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, driven by 19-year-old Brian Scott of Orwigsburg, Pa.

Blankenship was struck in the foot by the vehicle and received only minor injuries. He was treated at the scene. Adams was struck head-on by the front of the vehicle and was launched over the vehicle according to police reports and witness testimony. He was transported to PRMC in Salisbury and later transferred to Shock Trauma in Baltimore, where he died Tuesday night.

The two men were not in a marked crosswalk at the time of the collision, and Blankenship was issued a citation for pedestrian unsafely crossing in the path of a vehicle. Police believe Adams had been drinking prior to the incident.

The driver of the Jeep Cherokee has not been charged in the incident. He was required to take an intoximeter test which was administered at OCPD headquarters, and although the official results will not be released until the investigation is complete, the test did not exceed the .08 threshold for intoxication, according to police reports.

The reconstruction of the collision and a follow-up investigation is being conducted by the OCPD’s Traffic Safety Unit. According to police reports, it could be as long as 6-8 weeks before the probe and the toxicology examination of the victim is finalized. Once the investigation is complete, the case will be forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The pedestrian fatality was only the second in the last two years. The last pedestrian fatality in the resort occurred last June when an intoxicated high school senior celebrating his senior week in the resort drove into another Senior Weeker who was also intoxicated.

Resort officials have embarked on an aggressive education and enforcement pedestrian safety campaign in recent years after the particularly tragic summer of 2000 that resulted in four pedestrian fatalities in Ocean City. After the four pedestrian fatalities in 2000, there were two more in 2001 and only four more in the five years since. The fatal accident last Sunday was the first of 2007 although the collisions between pedestrians and vehicles continue.

For example, the fatal accident on Sunday morning was the third of three similar incidents in the resort last weekend, each of which resulted in victims being flown to PRMC for serious injuries. Shortly after 11 a.m. on Friday, an 18-year-old woman from Ukraine was struck by a vehicle as she crossed Coastal Highway near 42nd Street. Oleksandra Romanowski, 18, was seriously injured in the collision and is hospitalized in stable condition.

Like Adams and Blankeship, Romanowski was not in a marked crosswalk when she was struck trying to cross the highway. The driver of the vehicle, an unknown Berlin woman, was not charged.

In the other incident last weekend, 19-year-old Dustin Bennett of Berlin was riding south on a scooter on Philadelphia Ave. near Worcester Street shortly before 5 p.m. on Saturday when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Colleen Tipton, 46, of Easton, who was attempting to make a left turn from the center lane when she struck Bennett, who was also flown to PRMC via helicopter. Tipton has been charged with traffic violations in the incident.