Charlotte sets tragic milestone as 28th pedestrian hit by a car dies

Charlotte reached a grim milestone this week when a 29-year-old man who was hit by a car while crossing East W.T. Harris Boulevard died at Carolinas Medical Center.

Michael Putnam was the 28th pedestrian to die after being hit by a car on a Charlotte road this year. The number eclipsed the mark set in 2017, when 27 pedestrians died.

Over the past five years, nearly 90 pedestrians have died in Charlotte. A large majority of deaths have occurred in the past two years. Experts don’t know exactly what’s fueling the rise, but it’s part of a nationwide trend of increasing pedestrian deaths in urban areas.

Putnam was hit at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday by a northwest-bound driver while crossing East W.T. Harris near Hickory Grove Road, according to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department news release. Putnam wore dark clothes and was not in a crosswalk, CMPD said.

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He had stepped off the concrete center median when he was hit by a 2015 Dodge passenger car. Putnam was thrown onto the opposite side of the road, where Police found him “unresponsive,” according to CMPD’s news release.

The 28-year-old driver had neither been speeding nor consuming alcohol, according to investigators, and no charges are pending against her in Putnam’s death. Putnam also was not impaired, police said.

He died Wednesday at Carolinas Medical Center. The driver was uninjured, according to police.

The CMPD news release said officers continue to investigate “the circumstances surrounding the crash.” Anyone with information is asked to call CMPD’s major crash investigations unit at 704-432-2169, extension 4, or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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