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Posted on Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

Police identify woman killed while crossing Carpenter Road

By Paula Gardner

Pittsfield Township police are still seeking witnesses to the fatal collision between a car and a pedestrian on Friday night as they continue their investigation into the incident that took place on Carpenter Road near Ann Arbor.


Carpenter Road, just south of Washtenaw Avenue in Pittsfield Township.

Paula Gardner |

However, officials said on Saturday that one thing is clear: They don't expect charges against the driver of the car that struck the 23-year-old woman crossing Carpenter south of Washtenaw near the Palm Palace restaurant.

"We wouldn't say the driver is at fault," said Deputy Chief Gordy Schick.

Schick said Autumn Renae Tucker, 23, of Tecumseh died shortly after she was struck in the western southbound lane of Carpenter Road.

A 65-year-old man from Ypsilanti had just turned into that southbound lane from eastbound Washtenaw when he spotted Tucker and swerved to avoid her.

However, Schick said, the man's Ford Escape struck Tucker.

"The driver called 911," Schick said, and he remained on the scene as rescue crews arrived shortly after 9:30 p.m.

"Speed was not a factor," he continued. "... He had just completed a turn."

Police are still piecing together how Tucker happened to be in the area, Schick said Saturday morning.

She had been at one of the gas stations on the corner of Washtenaw and Carpenter, and was headed toward the Days Inn when she was struck.

It's unclear whether her destination was the motel, Schick said, but the location of that building - about 50-100 feet from the intersection and its crosswalk - indicates that the driver had no reason to expect a pedestrian in that stretch of the road.

Tucker also was wearing a dark hoodie and blue jeans, making it difficult to see her, Schick said.

Two pedestrians were killed by vehicles in the Ann Arbor area in November, including one in Pittsfield Township on Golfside Drive. Neither was crossing at a crosswalk, but the second incident - on Ann Arbor-Saline Road - prompted concerns about pedestrian safety in that area of the city.

Pedestrian safety also has been an issue in the Carpenter Road area following two additional pedestrian accidents, including one that was fatal, since 2010.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission, at the request of the township, in November installed a pedestrian crossing on Carpenter near Center Drive, about a mile south of Friday's crash scene.

Efforts to increase pedestrian activity and safety continue with recent work at the busy Washtenaw/Carpenter intersection, where paths were just built near the ramps to US-23.

Anyone who witnessed this accident is asked to contact the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety at 734-822-4911.

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Mary Keeley

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Just after I read this earlier this evening, I was approaching that intersection going west on Packard. I had a green light ahead of me but at the back of the closed gas station two people came out of the driveway and crossed Packard. This wasn't even a block from the intersection and lights. I was able to see them and had to almost stop. But they must have seen me coming and just assumed I could see them and would stop. They were lucky because I did notice but if I had been at all distracted I might not have noticed them.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

That intersection needs better street lighting at night. With the motels on the east side and restaurants on the west side of Carpenter, there will always be people from out of town crossing that street. Some will cross directly without going to the crosswalk. This is just another example of the area between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti where the infrastructure is ignored by the powers that be. We need a new city government in that area that will respond to the needs of the citizens. Pittsfield Township hardly knows that area exists when it comes to building and maintaining infrastructure.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Since it snowed a few days back, I've seen at least a dozen different people walking down busy streets (Golfside, Washtenaw, Carpenter, Packard etc) alongside the moving traffic. Usually they've walking against the flow. They're doing this because the sidewalks aren't cleared. Shovel the sidewalks. That will improve pedestrian safety.

Milton Shift

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 4:46 a.m.

As an important aside, it is indeed best for pedestrians to walk against the flow of traffic, but cyclists should never do this - they are moving much faster, and a driver coming around a tight corner (that is, blind) can be in for a nasty surprise.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

When walking in the street, pedestrians should always walk against the flow. But it would be nice if the sidewalks were usable.

Not a valid excuse for a newspaper

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

FYI, the new pedestrian crosswalk on Carpenter near Center is south, not north, of this accident.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

Nor is it a mile away from the intersection of Wash/Carpenter.

Paula Gardner

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:17 p.m.

Indeed it is. Just corrected that.

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

Traffic is heavy there, and people drive crazy around that intersection. I don't even like to drive at that intersection. I wouldn't want to cross in a crosswalk there. Areas around freeways exist in ownership limbo. Some of it is owned by the state, other parts by the township. They can seldom agree on improvements or get funding. It is the same disaster waiting to happen (and has happened) at State and I-94.

Ann English

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

I usually avoid the Washtenaw-Carpenter intersection; the last time I used it, I was buying Sunoco gasoline at $3.09 per gallon at that intersection, not too long ago. The state and township should come to agreements about pedestrian measures regarding roads near freeways, because those areas are where inns and motels are built. You want tourism? Accidents like this don't help market tourism.

Basic Bob

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

The intersection of Washtenaw and Carpenter is the busiest in the county - by far. You don't have to like to use it. In fact I try to avoid it. But it obviously serves a need to very large number of people. If I have a complaint, it would be the traffic turning left from Carpenter onto northbound US-23 and using the wrong lane. A new, bigger sign might help but I suspect people will still ignore it because they think they know how to drive.

Honest Abe

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:33 a.m.

What do they mean she died shortly after being struck? She died at the scene. When I drove by, they had her covered up with a white sheet. It was awful seeing that!


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

My guess is that dying at the scene means dying shortly after being struck. Your attempt to find fault where there is none has made for quite an insightful contribution.

Urban Sombrero

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

That area is ridiculously busy with traffic. I can see why someone would want to cross there------it's a long way to the crosswalks. STILL....that is an incredibly busy area of road. Like, ridiculously busy area. It is not conducive to pedestrian crossings. At all. If anything, it needs either a HAWK crossing or a pedestrian bridge. As it is? It's pretty much built for auto traffic only. A safe crossing is definitely needed in that area. My condolences to the family. It's a shame that this happened.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:50 p.m.

There is a safe crossing area, 50-100 feet from where this happened. It just was not used.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

Why can you see why someone would want to cross 50-100 feet from a crosswalk at a busy intersection? I can't.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 5:05 a.m.

This is very sad. I really like the new clearly lighted and marked crosswalk on Carpenter near Home Depot and, while I realized this incident did not happen there, it does remind me that when they were working on that crosswalk a few weeks ago I was admiring it as I drove up to it and almost hit a pedestrian that chose to cross about 100 feet before it. I sincerely wish that people would actually use these crosswalks that are provided for their own safety. That would have made for a very unfortunate yet ironic article on

Scott Reed

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

This town needs to become more pedestrian-friendly. Adding more crosswalks is a start, but that's not enough. We should be increasing density, narrowing/closing roads, and expanding sidewalks, especially near downtown.

Ann English

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Leaird Road was closed to its intersection with Plymouth Road, after the pedestrian bridge there, at Plymouth and Jones Drive was removed. So Plymouth Road is LESS pedestrian-friendly there today.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

The lack of a crosswalk was not an issue here; quite the opposite. As to your other suggestions, they are inappropriate here and I can see no reason for inserting them other than politicing for a cause. Narrowing Washtenaw would be a traffic disaster. The intersection in question is perhaps the busiest in the area and already involves waiting in long lines to get through the intersection.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

I never understood why they got rid of that blue pedestrian bridge on Plymouth road. When I was young, I crossed that bridge everyday going back and forth to school and as such, never had so much as a close call with a car. I wish they'd build more of those around town. Remember several years ago when two women were killed on the same road crossing where the mosque is? It was Winter and dark out and the women were wearing traditional clothing (burqas, I think) in black and could not be seen by the driver. A bridge could have saved them too. What a shame.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

Isn't the issue with pedestrian bridges the handicap accessibility constraint?

Ann English

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

One other comment poster suggested that the bridge over Plymouth Road was removed so that Plymouth Road could be widened. I can see the trouble it would have been on the Leaird Road side, to widen the road; the stairs were shorter on that side, built into a hill. I wonder if some elementary school redistricting took place in that area since 1968. Or did a too-tall vehicle hit it? It was plainly marked, "Clearance 14 feet 6 inches".

Ann English

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

I remember reading about them crossing Plymouth halfway, and then "doubling back." Few pedestrians cross halfway, decide they don't want to get to the other side of the road, and thus turn around in the street, going back to the side they started at, like these two women did.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

I walk cross busy road every day, and wish....

Barb's Mom

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

"She had been at one of the gas stations on the corner of Washtenaw and Carpenter" so she was at the crosswalk and walked south 50 to 100 feet before she decided to cross the road. Putting in more crosswalks isn't the answer if people don't use the ones that are available. My husband saw a person 20 feet south of the New crosswalk on Carpenter Wednesday when it was snowing, put their hand out to traffic and cross Carpenter illegally. People had to slam on their breaks in the heavy snow to not hit this person.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

A lot of people try to cross Carpenter at various spots away from the crosswalks, day and evening. It is totally unsafe. They run to the middle lane, and then wait there for a chance to make a mad dash to the other side. These pedestrians are putting themselves and drivers at risk for accidents as this case has shown. It's sad that someone loses their life this way. Very sad.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:22 p.m.

I wonder how much the orange barrels from the unfinished sidewalk construction played a part in this unfortunate incident. They make it difficult to see around the corner and it would be a pain to cross the crosswalk there with the 10 inch or more drop from the pavement.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.

This whole area has always been a deathtrap for pedestrians. How many decades and deaths has it taken to build some simple crosswalks and install proper sidewalks?

David Misek

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

There was a young waitress named Autumn that worked at Palm Palace. I wonder if it was her?

Paula Gardner

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

I called the Palm Palace to ask. They said the victim didn't work there.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

She was " about 50-100 feet from the intersection and its crosswalk ". All she had to do was walk 50-100 feet north and wait for the traffic signal.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:07 p.m.

The driver called from a cell phone and stayed for the emergency crew and now they don't know who he is? Huh?

Jake C

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

The fact that the driver stayed at the scene and called 911 leads me to believe that it would impossible for this to be a hit and run.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

The fact that they are looking for witnesses also gave me the initial impression that this was a hit And run.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

I don't see anywhere in this story that either states or implies that the driver's identity is unknown.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

What's your point? He's not charged with anything so his name doesn't have to be released.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

Witnessed a similar car/pedestrian accident some years ago at Packard & Wells. White-haired male driver turning left onto Packard from Wells: struck a woman wearing light-colored clothes as she was crossing in the crosswalk. Sent her flying. Speed - WAS involved - it's wrong to say it's not possible to make such turns too fast, if the driver is also not alert to what lies in their way as they make a too-hasty turn. Obviously: this was different, the pedestrian was wearing a dark hoodie. Dark clothing: makes a person nearly invisible at night. I've seen some fellow cyclists riding at night w/o lights, in dark clothing. I think to myself: there goes a potential unintentional suicide.


Mon, Dec 31, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.

I agree.


Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

Jeff: Habit

Jeff Gaynor

Sun, Dec 30, 2012 : 3:05 p.m.

I can't fathom what would prompt people to vote DOWN this comment.

ms 2013

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

lord rest her soul prayers for her fam

music to my ear

Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

we never think it would happen to us. that is why it is called an accident hoodies are not safe.they block your vision and only give you tunnel vision hoodie wearers be careful so sorry about Autumn she was so young.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

*Where, wow.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

The new pedestrian crosswalk is South of wear this happened. It's close to Home Depot on Carpenter Rd.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.

I actually saw something similar on Washtenaw a few years back when Kroger was still open. Very sad story, the driver will have to live with this and always wonder if he could have done something different.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

Wow, so that's what happened. I see people do this all the time. They cross far away from the cross walk which is still dangerous at the best of times. They move in between the cars queued up to go left onto Washtenaw like it's no big thing. And then someone always runs that light as well. I'm so sorry to hear that it happened. If there was ever a place for a pedestrian bridge, it's there.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 11:12 p.m.

I can lead a horse to water kind of thing. We need more light at large intersections at least. I can understand the dark clothing, you don't think about that sort of thing when choosing your wardrobe. Most of my clothes are dark. My coat is black with white reflector strips, but still dark. Still so sad. My prayers go out t her family and friends.


Sat, Dec 29, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Agreed on the pedestrian bridge, but you still have to get the people to use it! Problem is, this happened just south of a traffic signal with a crosswalk! This person's poor choices led to their death. Dark clothes in a poorly lit area on a dark, wet night and crossing a very busy stretch of road without using the crosswalk which was just down the road were very bad choices. I avoid that intersection at all costs when I can. I've said for many years that that whole section of Washtenaw from the edge of the Arborland Mall to the other side of Carptenter/Hogback needs to be reconfigured like they did in Hartland. At 23 & Washtenaw, make it a single point interchange. Then, Washtenaw would be a divided boulevard down the whole stretch with SB Hogback crossing the boulevard to SB Carpenter and NB Carpenter making a right onto Washtenaw and completing a Michigan left to access 23 & Hogback. The major problem with this is the possible lack of right of way to do it.