Green Bay Man charged for hitting, injuring pedestrian; safety now a concern

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) A 20-year-old Green Bay man is charged for hitting and seriously injuring a pedestrian in Green Bay earlier this week.

Court records show Anthony Cazzola drove with a suspended license and hit an 81-year-old man who was crossing in the middle of Nelson Street Tuesday night.

According to a criminal complaint, witnesses told police Cazzola was speeding, and he told investigators the brake line on his car broke when he tried to stop.

The pedestrian suffered serious, life-threatening injuries.

Cazzola was charged with a felony for causing great bodily harm while operating with a suspended license.

There is growing concern across Wisconsin as more and more pedestrians are being hit this year.

"Driving is a complex task that seems very simple, and it is, until you have something go wrong," says Peter Fllucke, president of We Bike, Etc.

Flucke calls Wisconsin Department of Transportation statistics scary.

They show 30 pedestrians have already been killed in the state half way through this year.

Last year, 20 pedestrians had died by the end of June.

"I spend my career trying to stop these things, and the hard part about this is these crashes are so predictable," says Flucke.

He is a former police officer, but now sits on the Brown County Traffic Safety Commission and travels the country to educate motorists and pedestrians. He knows the laws and knows how to stay safe.

He took us to Mason Street near downtown Green Bay and tried using the crosswalk, first wearing a dark jacket.

Cars never even slowed down.

He switched to a bright-colored shirt, which he says helps motorists see pedestrians better. Still nothing.

"One of the things we're going to demonstrate is a trick they've been teaching kids and teenagers in Europe for years. Put your arm out into the crosswalk. Turn and make eye contact with the motorist," he suggests. "Then between the signs and the markings on the road, it should be very clear to any motorist."

But it's clearly not.

Flucke put on a florescent yellow jacket and hat and put one foot into the crosswalk, which the law says should tell drivers to stop, but most paid no attention. One car even zoomed right by Flucke as he was already half-way across the street.

"The most important thing when you're a pedestrian is to be purposeful when you're crossing the street," he says, adding that it's important motorists can tell you are trying to cross the street.

The Wisconsin DOT Bureau of Transportation Safety says 1,227 pedestrians were injured in the state in 2015.

Most crashes happened during the week, especially Thursdays, in late afternoon, between 3:00-7:00 p.m.

Flucke believes speed and distractions by both pedestrians and motorists are partly to blame.

"We know how these things happen. They're predictable. And if they're predictable, they should be preventable," he says.

Click on the links to the right or below for more information on pedestrian laws and safety tips.