Jan. 24, 2011, a 63-year-old man dies in the crosswalk at 222nd and Dewdney Trunk after being struck down by a car.
Jan. 27th, the crosswalk claims its second victim in a week, a 73 year-old.
Merchants along Dewdney say people are nearly killed in this crosswalk every day of the week. They want a pedestrian light, but their pleas to the district for one are ignored.
Will nobody in the District of Maple Ridge District step between motorists and their victims? Will it take a superhero to rid us of negligent drivers? Someone like … Earthman.
Episode one: One less bozo on the road.
Edgar Miles made a left off 224th and signaled into the right lane heading west on Dewdney Trunk, scanning the sidewalks. The crosswalk ahead was notorious for pedestrians plowed down by motorists.
Janis witnessed a fatality here once – a boy stuck so hard that one of his bloody runners landed on the centre line, 200 feet away. The woman in the van was checking her make-up in the mirror.
“Elderly on walker, left side, Ed,” his wife warned.
“See her, hon’. Kid on the right, waiting to cross, too. Keep your eyes wide open, folks. This is no man’s land!”
Miles eased the Prius to a stop, stuck a hand out, palm backwards, the signal to vehicles approaching in the blind, middle lane that someone was in a crosswalk in front of the car that had already stopped.
Janis prayed both pedestrians wouldn’t move until vehicles in all four lanes stopped.
A Toyota in the opposite curb lane came to a halt. That left the two centre lanes.
Was it too much to hope for? The Dakota pickup had the answer. It shot past the Prius, followed by the Silverado full of kids in soccer uniforms.
“Doggy-doo-headed dimwit,” screamed Janis as she leapt into the street and leveled a forefinger at the next vehicle, a Harley.
“You,” she barked. “Stop. Right now.”
The big guy in a black pith helmet stared at her uncomprehendingly.
“Okay, lady,” he said. “Chill.”
“You keep a civil tongue in your mouth, young man,” shouted the elderly woman with the walker. She hadn’t moved, and clearly wasn’t going to until it was safe.
The kid, however, seeing his opportunity, bolted. He was half way across when the Ford F-350 rounded 222nd, arced around the Camry, and charged into the only open lane. It cleared the boy by inches without a sideways glance from the driver. At 224th, without signaling, he careened right, cutting off a fully packed HandyDart and disappeared.
“That does it,” groaned Miles. “I’m taking this bozo off the road. Or, at least Earthman is.”
“Great, Ed,” said Janis. “But, come back safely. I wasn’t sure you make it last time.”
There was no time to waste. Miles found a secluded side street, parked, and began the routine – long, deep leading to the feeling of out-of-body lightness, followed by … the transformation.
He tried to describe it to Janis once, but words were inadequate. “Imagine a giant vacuum sucking the life force out of you through the top of your head. Swoosh. Suddenly, you are pure energy, an immense, pulsating, amoeba-shaped force field, capable of anything you imagine doing; of making anything happen just because you will it? You know what people are thinking, what they’re planning. You feel like a … ”
Boundless power carried an awesome responsibility – use it to do good, and not evil. She was glad they hadn’t chosen her.
The pickup raced down the bypass, through a yellow light at the Lougheed junction, then suddenly braked, the driver having noted the bright yellow safety vest of the cop with a radar gun.
There were three others positioned on a side street. Miles sent them telepathic suggestion – stake out the crosswalk for an hour or two in plainclothes sitting outside the fish and chips shop. To the cop with the radar gun he delivered a different idea.
Red light at 240th. Pickup sped through it, found the long stretch of open road, and put pedal to the metal.
“Perfect,” thought Miles, his eyes, focusing like lasers now on the roof of the Ford 350. Suddenly, the driver’s head dropped backward, the truck rose 50 feet above the road. Miles directed it to a flat grassy bank well off the highway, and lowered his eyes. The pickup settled down gently next to a no parking bylaw sign.
When the patrol car pulled up, the driver was scratching his head. There was no obvious explanation for the wheel nuts resting in one of his hubcaps. The cop noted them, but seemed more interested in the home team flags above the vehicle’s doors, and the no parking sign which he was pointing to. He had studied the face of the man in front of him and suddenly smiled.
“Should have ripped those off after the game, buddy,” thought Miles. “This cop was on riot duty in Vancouver, and he remembers seeing you clearly just before you hurled that rock through the Bay window.”
“Did you leave bozo a message?” Janis asked.
“Yep, just after the cop read him his rights.”
“On the roof of his truck. A reminder for other bozos on the road, at least until this one gets a new paint job.”