The Town of Easton’s push for safer roadways hit a roadblock as Easton Mayor Robert C. Willey informed the town council the state will not reduce speed limits on U.S. Route 50 through town. Willey recently wrote a letter to the Maryland State Highway Administration asking for reduced speed limits on Route 50 between Chapel Road and Dutchmans Lane. The town wants 35 mph speed limits extended to Chapel Road and Dutchmans Lane from where the 35 mph zone begins at the Sonic and Wawa. Speed limits would be reduced from 50 to 35 mph in the Chapel Road portion and from 45 to 35 mph in the Dutchmans Lane portion. Willey said SHA reported the Route 50 study results did not justify reduced speed limits along Route 50.
A 70-year-old man was killed last week when he tried to walk across U.S. Route 50 and was struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by a Maryland State Police trooper. Maryland State Police identified the man who died as James H. White Jr. He had been living at the nearby Chesapeake Motel for at least several days, but had no fixed address. First Sgt. Livingston Banks was driving a department-issued 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer with its lights on. Banks had just gotten on U.S. Route 50 West and was approaching exit 45A, the exit at Hissey Road where the motel and a restaurant are located.
Police said in a news release that as Banks neared the large sign for exit 45A at Hissey Road, he saw vehicles in front of him veer suddenly and slow abruptly. Banks was traveling in the right lane of the three-lane highway. A pedestrian, later identified as White, was in the trooper’s direct path of travel in the slow lane. Banks tried to stop immediately and took evasive action, but could not avoid hitting White. Banks was not injured and immediately called for emergency aid and notified the state police Centreville Barrack. Queen Anne’s County EMS, Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department and Grasonville Volunteer Ambulance Department responded. Banks administered emergency care to White until an ambulance crew arrived. Police said White was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital at Easton, where he was pronounced dead.
The Maryland State Police Crash team responded to investigate. The preliminary investigation indicates White stepped from a traffic island at Hissey Road and Route 50 directly into traffic. Route 50 is a controlled access highway in that area, and pedestrians are not permitted on the roadway. Banks, a 25-year state police veteran, is assigned to the Automotive Safety Enforcement Division, headquartered in Glen Burnie.