Crosswalk being improved at time of fatal accident | NevadaAppeal.com
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Crosswalk being improved at time of fatal accident

by F.T. Norton
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal A Lyon County Sheriff's Deputy works radar enforcement in front of the Depot Casino, where employee Paul Dessaussois was hit and killed in the crosswalk Thursday.
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DAYTON – The crosswalk where a deadly accident killed a pedestrian last week was in the process of being made more visible, authorities said Monday.

Paul Leon Dessaussois, 37, an employee with the Depot Casino, was crossing Highway 50 East in front of the Red Hawk Casino on Thursday when he was struck in the crosswalk after one vehicle slammed into another.

Charges could be filed pending the result of an investigation.

A memorial to Dessaussois has sprung up at the site of the accident. An easel has a sign reminding drivers of the 35 mph speed limit and asks people to remember the married father of three sons.

Co-workers covered the sign with memorial messages. A balloon, surrounded by pinwheels and flowers, is tied to a stop sign across Pike Street.

On Monday, a Lyon County sheriff’s deputy was sitting across the four-lane highway from the Depot Casino with a radar gun on passing traffic.

Recently, the curbs surrounding the crosswalk were painted red and the stripes of the crosswalk will be painted brighter and wider – plans that were in place before the fatal accident, said Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Magruder.

According to the state, an estimated 16,000 vehicles pass through Dayton daily. A previous study determined the volume did not warrant a stoplight.

“Our safety engineers need to look at some other options, such as a pedestrian-activated light. There is no stoplight because it doesn’t meet the criteria,” Magruder said.

A pedestrian-activated light would hang over travel lanes at the same height as a stop light and, when activated by a pedestrian, would signal traffic to stop. Currently, this type of light is used on North Virginia Street in Reno in front of the Bonanza Casino.

Magruder said in Fallon, the state is currently testing a crosswalk where walkers would pick up a flag from a bucket on one side of the street and carry it to a bucket on the other side to make them more visible to traffic. The flags, however, keep disappearing, he said.

Other alternatives could be lights embedded in the asphalt that would flash when a pedestrian is crossing, or pedestrian safety islands.

“Any time there is a pedestrian fatality, our sympathy goes out to the victim’s family,” he said. “We are certainly going to look at that crosswalk again for a stoplight.”

A funeral for Dessaussois will be at 1 p.m. today at FitzHenry’s Chapel of Faith in Carson City.

Among his survivors are his wife, Dawn Dessaussois of Dayton; sons A.J. Donham, Christopher Dessaussois and Halen Dessaussois of Dayton; parents Bob and Carol Dessaussois; sister and brother-in-law Jenine and Gary Chrysler; sisters Leean Dessaussois and Laura Wiggins; nephews Bradley, Justin and Matthew; and niece, Kiara.

A memorial fund for the family has been set up at the Dayton Depot Casino, 755 Highway 50 East, Dayton, NV 89403; or the Nevada State Bank inside the Dayton Smith’s.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.