(KMSP) - For whatever the reason, we are seeing a spike in the number of pedestrians being killed on Minnesota roads. The number of pedestrians killed in Minnesota increased from 17 in 2014 to 41 in 2015, according to data from the Minnesota State Patrol. Already in 2016, six pedestrians have been killed, compared to four at this time last year.
The most recent incident occurred on Tuesday night, when Paul R. Dmitruk, 50, of Richfield was struck by a car and killed on Highway 13 in Burnsville. Dmitruk had just begun his lifelong dream to run his very own auto shop -- a goal he accomplished in June when he opened DPR Automotive in Burnsville.
“He worked really hard for that,” his father, Emilia Drepin, said. “He was working late.”
Tuesday night, Paul waited for his wife of 30 years, Larisa, to pick him up. His family believes he was at a restaurant across the street from his shop.
“He usually takes the crosswalk,” Drepin said. “For some reason, one time, he didn't take the crosswalk.”
This time he headed back along Highway 13 and Washburn Avenue. According to the State Patrol the driver, also traveling along the highway's left lane, had the right of way.
According to the State Patrol, it is legal to walk on most highways, but pedestrians must stay out of the lanes of traffic or as far away from the roads as possible. Otherwise, you're taking a risk that could cost you your life.
The State Patrol is still investigating Dmitruk's case. They said alcohol is a factor in 1/3 of pedestrian deaths, but it’s unclear if it was a factor in his case. Dmitruk's family has started a fundraiser for his funeral at https://www.gofundme.com/vqrw96xg.