Another pedestrian death on Fresno’s streets

The latest pedestrian fatality should make us all a lot more cautious maneuvering on Fresno’s streets. Drivers drive carelessly and pedestrians often make foolish jaywalking mistakes. Details surrounding the death of 30-year-old Melissa Dowd are still coming out. What we know so far is that Dowd was struck about 11 p.m. Friday while crossing at the intersection of Shepherd and Cedar avenues. Police say she was walking with a man south across Shepherd Avenue when she was struck and killed by the eastbound vehicle.

The driver is cooperating with police. Dowd was a medical resident in the University of California at San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education program. The Bee’s report today says she was an accomplished musician and humanitarian from Blacksburg, Va.

We have a major traffic problem on Fresno’s streets, and it puts all of us in jeopardy. I see it first hand daily. I live near Fresno State and drivers need to be extra cautious as thousands of students walk across Shaw and Cedar avenues — some in the crosswalks and some jaywalking. And the drivers are also distracted, with many on cell phones. I also ride my bike near campus and recently was forced into a curb by a driver who apparently didn’t see me.

We all need to be more cautious, whether a driver, cyclist or pedestrian. You may legally have the right of way, but that won’t make much difference if you’re the one who is struck.

On Friday night, we lost a vibrant young woman who would have contributed greatly to society as a physician. Dr. Tim Comes, director of the UCSF-Fresno medical program, interviewed Dowd last year for one of 10 residency positions. ”She just stood out as an extraordinary human being,” Comes told The Bee.

Here’s more from the story:

“Dowd graduated summa cum laude in 2005 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, where she studied biology and psychology. While at Virginia Tech, Dowd was also a member of the marching band and played several instruments, including the oboe, flute and euphonium, Comes said.

“She later attended medical school at Boston University and was a health fellow at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

“Dowd also had a heart for public service, which led her to work with HIV-positive orphans in Kenya and Tanzania, Comes said.

“When it came time to start a four-year residency program, Dowd picked Fresno. She started in June as an emergency resident at Community Regional Medical Center.

” ‘When she came here, she frankly fell in love with the people she met in the community and the program,’ Comes said.