At approximately 1:40 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 20, Wrightsville Beach Police responded to a call for a pedestrian that was struck by a taxicab on the 300 block of Causeway Drive opposite the town municipal complex where the Beach2Battleship triathlon was being staged.
The pedestrian was identified as Kathryn Angela Ward of Surf City. Ward and a friend were dropped off in the center lane of Causeway Drive by an unidentified taxicab when they exited the cab and walked around the back of the vehicle. Ward then stepped into oncoming traffic where she was struck by another taxicab heading eastbound on Causeway Drive.
Ward was transported to New Hanover Regional Medical Center by EMS for treatment and evaluation but WBPD Chief Dan House said she was conscious, talking and knew her name before she was taken to the hospital. House said Ward was intoxicated at the time and underage. By Wednesday, Oct. 24, NHRMC did not have Ward listed as a patient.
An investigation conducted by WBPD and a North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper who happened to be in the area determined that Ward ran in front of the eastbound cab from behind the cab she exited and that the accident was unavoidable on the part of the taxi driver.
House said the eastbound cab driver was driving under the speed limit and obeying the rules of the road and was not charged with any violation of the law.
As for the taxicab that dropped Ward off, House said it took off before the police arrived on the scene. From what WBPD and NCSHP could gather from the accident, House said it is probable that Ward and her friend wanted to be dropped off in the middle of Causeway Drive so they could cross the street to a residence on the southern side of the road. Although it is not against any laws to drop passengers off in that location, House said it was an issue that may need to be addressed.
“I can’t think of a worse place to drop somebody off,” he said. “That shouldn’t be a common practice; I’m not saying they don’t do it, but it is an issue.”
Since the cab driver did not break any laws by dropping the passengers off there, House said there would be no charges against them even if the identity of the driver became known.