Our hearts go out to the family of Marge Butler, who tragically died Tuesday night when she was struck by a car while crossing South Main Street in Horseheads near Hanover Square.

The Horseheads Village Police Department said Butler, 81 years old, was crossing South Main Street in front of the Village Hall, at 202 S. Main St., at about 7:43 p.m. Tuesday when she was struck by a vehicle traveling north on South Main Street, about to enter Hanover Square.

Butler was pronounced dead at the scene by the Chemung County Medical Examiners’ Office.

Horseheads police said the driver, 73-year-old Linda Dugan, struck Butler in her lane, the northbound lane. Officers said no drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash but the investigation continues and charges are pending.

Pedestrian safety is a topic we frequently address by trying to educate drivers that they need to be attentive to ALL road users — pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles — not just cars and trucks.  Sadly, a moment of inattentiveness, or worse yet, distracted driving can be the difference between life and death for vulnerable road users like a pedestrian crossing a street.

Nationally, pedestrian car accident traffic fatalities have increased sharply in recent years. The Governors Highway Safety Association says from 2008 to 2017, pedestrian deaths increased across the nation from 4,414 in 2008 to 5,977 in 2017 while the number of all traffic fatalities nationwide fell by 6 percent!

As a percentage of traffic-related fatalities, the pedestrian death rate was 12 percent of all deaths in 2008 and it increased to 16 percent in 2017.

In 2017, New York State had 242 pedestrian fatalities, which was 24.2 percent of all traffic fatalities. New York City reported 95 pedestrian deaths.

In the first six months of 2018, New York State was sixth in the nation with 117 pedestrian deaths, behind California (432), Florida (330), Texas (298), Georgia (133), and Arizona (125).

Five states – Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas – accounted for 46 percent of the pedestrian deaths in the U.S. in the first six months of 2018.

There are many new projects in the works aimed at curbing pedestrian personal injury crashes – new safety features such as pedestrian detectors in vehicles and new road designs that include pedestrian-activated beacons of light at crosswalks and other features.

But none of those safety improvements will stop all pedestrian car crashes as long as drivers are inattentive, distracted or impaired.

Thank you for reading,


Jim Reed
Managing Partner
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”

NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: jreed@zifflaw.com
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and