A man was struck and killed Saturday evening after he got out of his vehicle when it stalled in the middle of Sparta Highway.
The victim, Paul Ward, 35, was killed when he was struck just after 11 p.m. Saturday on Highway 70 by a vehicle driven by Sarah J. Simmons, 23. The crash took place between the Highway 30 caution light and Old Rock Island Road intersection.
“She didn’t have time to react,” said Highway Patrol Lt. Billy Prater. “She saw the car, saw him, and then impact. There was nothing for her to do.”
Prater noted there were no lights on Ward’s 2006 Pontiac G6, which was in parts of both eastbound lanes.
“He had car trouble,” said Prater, noting the evidence suggests Ward got out of his disabled vehicle after it stalled in the middle of the four-lane. “What happened next, we may never know.”
Prater said his best guess is Ward was either trying to push the stalled vehicle to the shoulder, or he was trying to flag down the oncoming motorist. However, with no lights on his vehicle, the approaching driver couldn’t see him in the middle of the dark highway.
“His keys had been taken out of the ignition and his lights were set to auto,” Prater said, pointing out that once he removed the key, the lights would have gone out automatically a few moments later, perhaps explaining why there were no lights on his vehicle.
Simmons’ 2008 Toyota Scion hit Ward’s vehicle, with him in between the two, in the front fender. Ward was found about 200 feet away from the point of impact.
“From what we’ve learned, he was headed home,” said Prater, noting Ward lived on nearby Copenhaver Road.
The lieutenant said there were no signs of alcohol or drug use at the scene and that Simmons was traveling the posted speed limit, 65 mph, when the accident happened.