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Posted on Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 10:08 a.m.

Pittsfield Township police identify pedestrian who was struck and killed on Carpenter Road

By Staff

Pittsfield Township police have identified the pedestrian struck and killed while crossing Carpenter Road on Wednesday evening as 84-year-old Harry Westhill of Ann Arbor.

Township Deputy Chief Gordy Schick said Westhill was crossing from west to east on Carpenter Road south of Washtenaw Avenue near the Quality Inn & Suites when he was struck at 7:23 p.m.

A 17-year-old Pittsfield Township boy was driving his pickup truck north and was in the curb lane when Westhill walked into the lane of traffic, Schick said. Westhill was struck and died instantly.

Police said the roadway does not have streetlights in that area, and Westhill was not in a crosswalk. Speed and alcohol are not believed to be factors, according to a press release.

Carpenter Road was closed to traffic for about three hours after the accident.

Schick said the accident remains under investigation.



Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 8:04 a.m.

I agree with this and I see a simple solution to the problem. Why not use the out lot across the street. The strip mall there is pretty much dead and that little road way can really be a boon to keeping pedestrians safe. I see potential for the AATA buses using this area and keeping the bus riders safe. My correction is this. Crosswalks are to keep pedestrians safe, if you cross without one then you are taking your life into your own hands. Arborland sucks when it comes to not letting AATA use their area. I wish I could boycott Arborland but I need to frequent Micheals and Hillers. Sigh. There has to be an easier alternative then this.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

@jns131: The pedestrians taking their lives in their hands by crossing Washtenaw have unfortunately had to increase because Arborland has rescinded AATA access to the area behind Starbucks. Something about busriders occupying parking spots that could be used by customers.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

Pedestrians in Ann Arbor think they own the road. I see people trying to cross Washtenaw during the day in heavy traffic scaring a few drivers trying to avoid them. The law is pretty simple, crosswalks are there for a reason and you take your life into your own hands if you cross with them. Tragic ending and a tragic beginning for a young driver. Wow. This is why I tell mine, crosswalk and nothing else. Good luck to both families.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 8:01 a.m.

jcj - The WCRC doesn't do sidewalks, per se. I believe funding for sidewalks is a "local" matter, which is to say, Pittsfield Twp manages them. Funding for new sidewalks, routine maintenance, and repair/replacement comes from a variety of sources - special assessments (a.k.a. taxes), grants, and sometimes federal and state funds. However, the Township usually coordinates sidewalk work with the County when roads are being improved or when new roads are built. Maintenance of sidewalks adjoining businesses and residences is usually the responsibility of the business or resident across whose property the sidewalk crosses. This is governed by Township ordinance. An update regarding resurfacing work on Carpenter Road: According to Roy Townsend (WCRC Highway Engineer), the resurfacing project has been moved from 2011 to 2012 due funding constraints. While that's a little disheartening, at least it affords the Township and it's Road Committee an opportunity to make sure the safety concerns of pedestrians and cyclists are addressed.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 11:04 p.m.

Do the sidewalks on Carpenter actually fall under the WCRC jurisdiction? What is Pittsfield townships responsibility?


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 9:52 p.m.

I sit on the Pittsfield Township Road Committee (not to be confused with the Washtenaw County Road Commission [WCRC], which is an entirely different body, but with whom we collaborate) and I have brought it to the Committee's attention that the matter of pedestrian - and bicyclist - safety along Carpenter Road really must be addressed expeditiously. The Committee next meets on Nov 18 at the Township. If you wish to add your voice to this very important topic, please feel free to email me directly ( or contact the Township Supervisor (Mandy Grewal) with your concerns. For those who aren't aware, the WCRC has plans to resurface the stretch of Carpenter Road between Washtenaw and Packard in 2011. What we hope to learn at our November meeting is the extent of the work that's planned. I suspect that the project does not include improvements to lighting, additional crosswalks with safety islands, or plans to fill the gaps in the sidewalk system on either side of Carpenter Road. Nor, I suspect, are they planning anything in the way of bicycle lanes on either side of the road. Some of these costs will likely have to be covered by a tax referred to as a "special assessment district," other costs may need to be covered by applying for grants.

Oscar Lavista

Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 4:50 p.m.

Very sad.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 2:04 p.m.

My boyfriend and I passed the accident on our way to Kroger. It had just happened, not minutes before. I just drove by and saw the results, and I almost lost it. The poor boy who was driving is probably beside himself. Terrible.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 12:41 p.m.

Nice work Peregrine. Very sad story.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 11:34 a.m.

I see people crossing that dangerous route all the time, sometimes with small children. But if you don't have a car, or bus fare, some people risk their lives to cross that path to get to and from Arborland. I just don't know what civil engineers can do to make it safer for foot traffic.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 11:26 a.m.

This is very sad for everyone involved.

Momma G

Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

This is a very tragic accident and my prayers go out to the young driver who was definitely not at fault. It's also sad that an 84 yr. old would be trying to cross that busy road at dark and not crossing with a traffic light. Prayers to his family also.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

That stretch of road between Washtenaw and Packard is pretty bad for pedestrian crossings. There seem to be a lot of people attempting to cross at all hours, and the street is 4+1 lanes of high speed (45 mph.) I have personally witnessed at least 3 other pedestrians struck while trying to cross; fortunately, not at significant speeds so only minor or no injuries. Perhaps installing one or two crosswalks at sensible intervals with lights and 'push the button to cross' warnings might help, but people will likely still be lazy and just try to cross where they are rather than walk 100 yards down to the crosswalk.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 10:16 a.m.

This is very sad. If the pedestrian was walking from west to east and the driver was in the curb-side lane heading north, then the pedestrian had already crossed the two southbound lanes, the center divider and one of the two northbound lanes before being struck. It was dark, as sunset occurred at 6:24pm and civil twilight ended at 6:53pm.


Thu, Nov 4, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

Very sad.