Oakland leaders vow to stop pedestrian deaths after woman hit by 2 cars while crossing street

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Thursday, January 18, 2024
Oakland vow to stop pedestrian deaths after woman killed by 2 cars
Oakland leaders vow to stop pedestrian deaths after a 59-year-old woman was hit by two cars while crossing the street.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Songs of pain and gestures of comfort Wednesday night in Oakland. At 24th Street and San Pablo Avenue, dozens gathered to remember 59-year-old Kim Barranco.

Barranco, who went by the nickname Ladybug, was killed last week at this intersection after being hit by two cars while she was crossing the street.

"I thought she'd be burying me. Not me burying her," said Sharon Wooten.

Ladybug's mom, Sharon, tells me the pain has been unbearable.

She talked to us at Serenity House - an Oakland nonprofit where Ladybug used to volunteer.

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Sharon says while the past week has been tough, the outpouring from those Ladybug helped has touched her.

"A sweet and loving person. And a lot of fun to be with. And just lively, she was full of life," Wooten said.

Ladybug's death isn't an isolated incident, though. Every year, many people are hit and killed by cars in Oakland. It's a problem city officials say they're determined to fix.

That includes Oakland city councilmember Caroll Fife.

Fife says in addition to the immediate action, she'll be pushing to install barriers on the street to slow traffic down, she also supports a longer term fix for especially dangerous roads like this one.

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"There's a project in the pipeline right now that's going to not only beautify, but also make the streets a lot safer than they are," Fife said.

Oakland leaders say most of these traffic related deaths are avoidable tragedies.

They also point to equity factors at play - saying that most of them occur in disadvantaged neighborhoods and disproportionately impact people of color.

"There's been a lack of investment in infrastructure in some of these marginalized communities, which impacts Black and Brown communities," Fred Kelley, the director of the Oakland Department of Transportation said.

The Oakland Police Department has released photos of a vehicle they say is connected with Ladybug's death.

They're asking the public for help in identifying the driver, who they claim may be unaware they hit someone.

As for Ladybug's family, they say they're just looking for closure.

"I just hope that they catch the people who did it. To hit somebody and keep going, that's pretty cold blooded," said Wooten.

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