ASPEN HILL, Md. (WJLA) — It took six days for Montgomery County to record its first pedestrian death of 2020.
Around 6:26 p.m. Monday, a 2008 Honda Civic hit an adult male pedestrian along northbound Georgia Avenue at the intersection with Aspen Hill Road. The Honda's front windshield was badly shattered.
"He's breathing, but he's not conscious or alert right now. We're going to need ALS," one of the first officers to arrive on the scene stated to dispatch while requesting an advanced life support ambulance. "If somebody has an AED, come priority."
Paramedics took the victim, Jose Renan Guillen, 75, of Olney, to a local trauma center in critical condition. He was pronounced dead less than an hour later. According to law enforcement sources, first responders located a pedestrian safety flyer in one of Guillen's pockets. Those same sources indicated an officer had handed Guillen the flyer approximately 40 minutes before he was hit and killed.
Authorities have identified the driver of the Honda as Beverly Bowler Babcock, 74, of Silver Spring. Babcock remained at the scene and was uninjured. Guillen's clothing and personal effects remained in a pile in the roadway, a stone's throw from the main entrance to the Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
Police closed all northbound lanes along Georgia Avenue, routing traffic down Aspen Hill Road. Southbound traffic remained open and not impacted.
The Montgomery County Collision Reconstruction Unit arrived around 8 p.m. The team of highly-trained traffic investigators typically spend hours processing fatal crash scenes. A final report, which among other things, seeks to determine who was at fault, can take months to complete.
A marked crosswalk is located approximately 150 feet south of where the striking Honda came to a final stop. It is unclear if Guillen was in that crosswalk at the time of the collision and/or if he had the right of way.
Enhancing pedestrian safety has been a top priority for certain members of the Montgomery County Council in recent years. To that point, the county has adopted a Vision Zero plan with hopes of eliminating pedestrian fatalities and serious pedestrian injuries. Yet, Councilmember Evan Glass (D-At Large) says county leaders still have a lot of work ahead of them.
"This is a terrible and unfortunate way to start the new year. The first step to reducing pedestrian incidents and deaths in 2020 is to hire a Vision Zero coordinator, which is currently in process. In 2019 there were nearly 14 deaths and 600 incidents on our roadways. We can and must do better," Glass remarked.