Reporting Jessica Kartalija
OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — It has been one year since a drunk driver killed a Howard County man in Ocean City. He was spending the weekend there with friends.
Now, as Jessica Kartalija explains, his family is working with the town of Ocean City to prevent something like this from happening again.
Twenty-two-year-old Matthew Cheswick was killed in Ocean City last summer when he was struck by a drunk driver. Now, his family is working to improve street safety to prevent another unnecessary accident.
“I really honestly feel like this is the beginning, not the end, of what I want to do with Matthew’s legacy and I want that to continue,” said Matthew’s mother, Cecilia Roe.
They’re partnering with the town of Ocean City in the Walk Smart Safety Campaign.
“No Pedestrian Crossing” curb stencils and new signs are going up in busy pedestrian areas along Coastal Highway to help direct people to crosswalks. There are also reminders to stay alert.
“Notice what’s going on around you, be cognizant of your surroundings and just be aware so if something is happening, you can get out of the way quickly,” said Roe.
Walk Smart efforts are already working.
In the first six months of this year, there was a 52% reduction in the number of pedestrian crashes than the same time last year.
“Ocean City swells to one of the largest cities in Maryland and we have constant turnover of people as they come on vacation. So we want people to reinforce the message to use crosswalks and be safe as they walk through Ocean City,” said Melinda Peters, State Highway Administration.
Police are also stepping up their efforts, cracking down on drivers and pedestrians who aren’t following the rules of the road.
Matthew’s mother tells WJZ it doesn’t matter whether you’re at the beach or in your own back yard–it’s important that you stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Last year, two pedestrians were killed in Ocean City and another 13 were injured.