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Pedestrian death toll reaches 3 just 5 days into new year

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Updated: 3/17 5:47 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3.com) -- Three pedestrians have been killed in the Las Vegas Valley in the first five days of the year, increasing the rate of such fatalities over last year when more than 40 pedestrians were killed.

The latest fatality came Saturday evening when a man stepped in front of a car while trying to cross Warm Springs Road just east of Hinson. The road hast just one lane in each direction, but Metro investigators say the man stepped in front of a Toyota SUV and was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Friday night, a 35-year-old man crossing Tropicana Avenue outside of a crosswalk has become the second Metro traffic fatality of 2013.

The unnamed Las Vegas resident was struck about 11:40 Friday night as he was crossing Tropicana just east of Decatur Boulevard by a 2003 Lexus GS300 driven by 49-year-old Euijoon Lee of Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Lee was not injured.

The victim was transported to UMC Trauma with critical injuries and was pronounced dead by medical personnel.

The identity of the victims and their exact cause of death will be made public by the Clark County coroner's office.

The first fatality in Metro's jurisdiction occurred on New Year's Day when Theresa Change may have had a medical episode and lost control of her car near the Gold Coast casino. Her Lincoln Town Car hit a Nissan Altima on West Flamingo and flipped on its top after it exited the Gold Coast parking lot.

The first pedestrian fatality of the year resulted from an accident in North Las Vegas on New Year's Day.  Jessie Hill, 18, died later as a result of his injuries. His 16-year-old girlfriend was critically injured in the accident, but is expected to survive.

The accident happened when Christian Diaz, 19, drove his car off the road and onto the sidewalk on a North Las Vegas Street. Investigators believe drugs and possibly alcohol were involved in the accident. Diaz and Richard Velasquez, 16, are being held on traffic and destruction of evidence charges.

About 250 pedestrians were injured and more than 40 died in traffic accidents in Clark County in 2012.

Most law enforcement agencies and UMC medical staffers held a news conference Thursday to encourage motorists to drive slower, not use their cell phones and to be especially aware of crosswalks and school zones. Classes resume Monday for Clark County School District students after a Christmas break of nearly three weeks. Parents are also being strongly encouraged to remind their children of safe crosswalk procedures.
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