Widow of Army veteran struck by car calls for crosswalk to be placed on busy roadway

Willie James Span, 70, killed Oct. 2, 2014, in front of VA clinic

SUNRISE, Fla. – The widow of a South Florida man who was struck and killed by a car while he was crossing a major street to get to a veterans' clinic in Sunrise is pushing for a crosswalk to be placed in the roadway in honor of her husband.

Willie James Span, 70, was killed Oct. 2, 2014, while trying to cross Commercial Boulevard, on the border of Tamarac and Sunrise.

"He didn't make it across the street," Doris Span said. "He died on the Tamarac side trying to get to the Sunrise side."

Span has remained silent on her husband's death until now.

"I don't want my husband to be forgotten," she said. "My husband didn't die in vain, and I want his death to be a wake-up (call)."

Span is calling for local lawmakers to put in a crosswalk and an on-demand light that would allow people to cross safely.

"He can't benefit now, but he can be remembered, and other vets can benefit. Put the on-demand light in. Just do it," Span said.

Broward County commissioners said in 2014 that they couldn't add in the crosswalk because there wasn't enough foot traffic crossing that part of the street.

But Span said she believes it's more about dollar signs.

"I'll find the money somewhere. I'll knock on doors, I'll write letters. Don't let it be about money and don't let it be about red tape," she said.

Span will speak to the Sunrise City Council Tuesday afternoon and ask them to show support for the crosswalk, and to get the ball rolling to break through the red tape that has prevented the project in the past.

According to Thomas Hutka, director of Broward County Public Works, a crosswalk or traffic light cannot be placed at the location because of certain regulations.

He said pedestrians are encouraged to walk to the intersection of Nob Hill to cross the street and said some improvements have been made after Willie Span's death, including establishing a half-price paratransit fare to the clinic.

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