A Macon man known by neighbors for recycling cans to earn a few extra dollars was killed Wednesday morning after being struck by a vehicle.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the accident that took place about 7:15 a.m. on Mercer University Drive near the intersection of Grosso Avenue. The victim is 74-year-old Theodore Reese, of Grosso Avenue, Coroner Leon Jones said.
“At this time the information we have is a gray Chevy Trailblazer was traveling east on Mercer when a pedestrian stepped out in front of them,” Deputy Clay Williams said.
Less than an hour before the accident, one resident briefly spoke with Reese at a nearby convenience store. Several neighbors say Reese was a nice guy who would push a trash container around the community and pick up cans to take to a recycling center.
“He usually has some dogs following him,” neighbor Derrick Walker said. “He always kept to himself and was pretty quiet.”
Reese is the latest death in Macon where someone was killed by a vehicle while walking. Per capita, Macon-Bibb ranks second in the state for pedestrian fatalities. Because of the high number of deaths, a board aimed at reducing the fatalities continues its efforts with new campaigns.
The Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Fatality Review Board has created a Vision Zero initiative promoting education about safety. Earlier this week, board members visited several of the sites where the fatalities have occurred, and on Wednesday established a campaign encouraging the use of crosswalks. While on Northside Drive, the board, which includes some public safety and engineering officials, brainstormed ideas on how to quickly make the street safer.
“What we came up with are some painting, striping, placement of flashing light signs,” Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Elaine Lucas said.
Long term, the board also is pushing for speed limits to be lowered on some streets and for the county to use some of the special purpose local option sales tax improving safety.
“It’s disappointing when you have a death, but we need people need to join with us and help carry that message that we can bring greater safety” to Macon, Lucas said.