Woman in Wheelchair Fatally Struck by Semi in Plymouth, Highlighting Increased Fatality Rate for Wheelchair Users in Crosswalks

A woman in a wheelchair was fatally struck by a semi-truck in a Plymouth crosswalk on Monday. Shortly after 11:00 a.m., Jessica Marie Arel (39) of Loretto, was moving through the crosswalk of the southbound I-494 off-ramp at Highway 55 when a semi-truck hit her. The semi driver, Kraig Allen Schuneman (62) of Mounds View, was uninjured. The Minnesota State Patrol says that the westbound lanes of Highway 55 will be closed for an “extended period of time.” No further details about the crash have been released.

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Wheelchair Users at High Risk for Fatal Crashes in Crosswalks

From 2007-2013, an average of 28 wheelchair users were struck and killed in motor vehicle accidents each year. Just in the last decade, the pedestrian death rate from motor vehicle crashes reached an all-time high. A 2015 study by researchers at Georgetown University found that the fatality rate for people using wheelchairs when crossing roads is 36% higher than for pedestrians on foot. The study cites sidewalk design as a contributing factor, including whether the pedestrian light changes first, so pedestrians are already in the intersection before the light changes for cars. In a 2018 article for The Cincinnati Enquirer, a man who was struck on three different occasions while crossing the road in his wheelchair, called for improved pedestrian safety. In his words, “when you are turning right on a red light – or anywhere, for that matter – you must look all around you, even down.”

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Our team of semi-truck accident lawyers represents crash victims and Minnesota families who lost a loved one. We have been helping families impacted by the actions of careless semi-truck drivers for the past 40 years. While no amount of money could ever make up for your family’s loss, filing a wrongful death lawsuit will help you obtain justice and compensation for your loved one’s death. If you would like to talk to a lawyer about your case, please call 612-338-0202, or fill out the form below.

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