A record number of people died in car crashes in Tulsa last year and police believe the pandemic is a main reason for it. That’s because nearly half of those killed were hit by a car while walking.
Police said of the 45 people killed in car crashes last year, 18 of them were hit and killed by cars while walking. Police said of the 18 people walking, 16 were homeless.
They say the pandemic has forced shelters to take in less people, which has left many with nowhere to live but on the streets.
Tulsa Police Sergeant Brian Collum works eastside traffic and said he has never seen a year as deadly as 2020.
"Right about the middle of 2020, maybe in the summertime, we started realizing these numbers were way higher than normal. We started researching to see why they were higher than normal. All of them had the same feeling. They were all homeless people,” said Sergeant Collum.
TPD said in east Tulsa, 16 people were killed, eight of those were pedestrians. In north Tulsa, 15 people were killed, seven while walking. In south Tulsa, 14 people died and three were walking.
Sergeant Collum said the common area for the most deaths was along Admiral.
"The parts of Admiral, from Memorial to about Yale and Harvard, it is not very well lit. Pretty much every auto pedestrian fatality that we've had kind of mirrors the same thing. You know they aren't walking at a crosswalk, they are walking in the middle of the road, intoxicated, things like that,” said Sergeant Collum.
Collum said due to the pandemic, homeless shelters aren't allowed to take in as many people, which means more people on the streets.
"They just don't have anywhere to go right now because of the virus, so I think it is frustrating for all of us,” said Sgt. Collum.
Collum said out of the 45 people killed, only one case remains unsolved. That is the case of Linda Clinton who was hit and killed near 41st and Garnett in November.