CENTER POINT, Ala. (WIAT) – The intersection where 16-year-old Brieyonna Pearson was killed on Sunday was proposed as a potential spot for a red light camera back in the fall.
Center Point’s Director of Public Safety, Antonio Weatherly, explained that it’s one of the busiest intersections in town, and traffic flows at a high rate of speed. He also believes that if the camera had already been installed, it could have made a difference in the crash that killed Pearson.
“We would have had, now, actual footage and facts of what took place,” Weatherly said.
Pearson was a passenger in a vehicle traveling north on Center Point Parkway when they got into a wreck with a second vehicle. According to investigators, the person driving the second vehicle fled on foot before deputies arrived. That person still hasn’t been identified. A third vehicle stopped to help, but when they got out of the third car–Pearson and those people were hit by a fourth car.
It’s not the first time someone has been seriously injured or killed on Center Point Parkway in a similar incident. Weatherly said that speed and distraction are often factors. He told CBS42 News that he sees motorists speeding through red lights, and pedestrians crossing through traffic at all hours of every day.
“Were we to use automated systems to catch people who are speeding and running stop signs, it can be used in multiple ways,” Weatherly said.
In Pearson’s case, Weatherly said the video could provide them with answers quicker, and more easily. It could also help them identify all of the people who were involved.
Weatherly also said that having the cameras could free officers from babysitting intersections from speeders.
“If a camera can catch someone at a stop sign that’s doing this while a deputy is riding around helping someone–working a domestic call, for example, I’ll take that,” Weatherly said. “Any day.”
As for any citizens who might complain that the move to install red light cameras is just a cash grab–Weatherly says, it’s a tool that they’ll be able to utilize in a variety of ways. While it will generate some funds, he would like to see a portion of that money go back into improving the roads where these incidents are happening.
“We want this to be better for when our kids come to the city,” Weatherly said. “When their kids come. These are the things where we could have a crosswalk if you want to cross the street.”
Red light cameras were also proposed in the north and southbound intersections of 23rd Avenue and Center Point Parkway and 17th Avenue and Center Point Parkway. Weatherly said that they are still working through the process with the Alabama Department of Transportation, submitting the proper paperwork, and waiting to hear back.