Woman taken to hospital after being hit by car

Woman taken to hospital after being hit by car

CHAMPAIGN — A rural Champaign woman was taken to Carle Hospital after she was hit by a car while crossing a street Tuesday night.

Champaign police Deputy Chief Jon Swenson said Catherine Luhrsen, 51, was crossing Prospect Avenue to the west at the intersection with Church Street just before 5 p.m. when she was hit by a car turning left from Church onto Prospect.

Swenson said the driver of the car, Peter Lessaris, 83, of the 900 block of West White Street, Champaign, told police he did not see a person in the crosswalk nor did he see the pedestrian signal illuminated.

It was raining and dark at the time of the accident and Luhrsen was dressed in black, Swenson said.

Swenson said the only way the pedestrian signal gets illuminated at that intersection is if the pedestrian pushes the button at the crosswalk. Luhrsen told police she had done that.

Swenson said a motorist behind Lessaris on Church also said he did not see the pedestrian signal lit up.

Police did not issue any tickets. The accident remains under investigation.

Swenson said Luhrsen was conscious and alert and he didn't think her injuries were very serious. Her condition was not immediately available.


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logicalpositivist wrote on December 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm

There have been quite a few accidents involving octogenarians in the past two weeks.

Bikers, and buses, and blue hairs! Oh, my!

1) This one.

2) http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2011-12-12/two-hurt-collision-bloomington-road-mattis-avenue.html

3) http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2011-12-03/car-hits-cvs-champaign-child-injured.html

Hope Ms. Luhrsen makes a quick recovery.


Janet wrote on December 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

There also have been quite a few car vs. pedestrian accidents.  Crosswalk or not, I just wouldn't cross a street at night with a car coming and hope the car saw me.  However it's happened, we seem to have created a world where pedestrians see the crosswalk as some magic force field. Also, the lit signal issue is dubious. On campus, students enter intersections when 'don't walk' is flashing. I don't think they understand (care) that it means they shouldn't be walking.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Janet;  Your are so right about the jaywalking problem in campus town.   Hard to navigate through there day, or night.

natebaux wrote on December 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Peter has never been issued a traffic citation in champaign county.

it was dark, raining, and the woman was wearing dark clothing.

the driver behind peter said he did not see the signal either.


lets not tarnish the reputation of this man based on his age.

logicalpositivist wrote on December 16, 2011 at 9:12 am


I indicated some facts. I said nothing personal against this driver.

I provided the links to two articles, in addition to the current one, which described accidents involving drivers age 80 and over.

If I offended your sensibilities, I apologize. However, my comment did not "tarnish the reputation of this man based on his age."  

simplecitizen wrote on December 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

I think the bottom line is that in this type of weather it is very hard to see for everyone - both drivers AND pedestrians NEED to be more careful.  I'm not sure what more the driver could do in this situation except be alert.  The pedestrian needs to do the same and should make sure they see that the drivers are aware they are there, and really that goes for any type of weather. 

pattsi wrote on December 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

A part of this situation and several other reported accidents in the community have urban design along with transportation-design aspects , such as length of light so pedestrian has sufficient time to cross the street, enhanced lighting at a corner, clearing a corner so only pedestrians cross, using orange pedestrian crosswalk safety flags so the pedestrian is more visible  (http://www.slcgov.com/transportation/Pedestrian/pedFlags.htm), design of the streets, etc. Both Champaign and Urbana have adopted the concept of complete streets  (http://www.completestreets.org/) yet pedestrians and walkability, such as sidewalk illumination and smooth walking surfaces, have not been given as much time, attention, and financial investment as streets. This particular intersection was just upgraded this past summer.

Maybe the time has come for the N-G and the university journalism students to work on an investigative article about the walkability or lack thereof in the community, showing data where problems exist, and encourage both community and citizens to work together to rectify this situation. No matter what mode of transportation is used to get from A to B, one still has to walk to get to the final destination.

Also CUUATS  (http://www.ccrpc.org/transportation/)  meets every two months. This is the group that is responsible for the transportation planning for the area. Citizens are welcome at the meeting and there is a time for citizen comments at every meeting.