LAKEWOOD — A tragic trend of fatal pedestrian crashes in an Ocean County community continued Sunday when a man was killed crossing Route 70 near Vermont Avenue on Sunday night.

Lakewood Police spokesman Sgt. Greg Staffordsmith said William Fernando Campo Verde, 29, sustained a traumatic head injury after being hit by a 56-year old Whiting woman driving a 2017 Nissan Altima around 8:30 p.m. .

Verde was trying to cross the highway outside of a crosswalk when he was hit by the car, according to Staffordsmith.

He was transported to Monmouth Medical Southern Campus Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Staffordsmith said no summons have been issued as the investigation continues.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office ran a safety enforcement initiative in Lakewood in December after at least 14 pedestrian fatalities during the year. Those included a woman pedestrian killed at Route 70 and Shorrock Street in December, and a Christmas hit-and-run on Cedarbridge Avenue.

Also among those killed last year was a 3-year-old girl whose bicycle darted into 7th Street over the summer, and was struck by a vehicle.

In response to the spate of fatalities, police began their crackdown — looking in particular for jaywalkers and others skirting safety laws. That specific effort, which included undercover officers, wrapped up Dec. 16.

Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Al Della Fave said at the time the “volume of traffic and pedestrian movement has just been a formula for disaster.”

He urged people “to just slow down — drivers and pedestrians included, both sides, be responsible in terms of their movements.”

Della Fave said that means pedestrians, instead of crossing mid-street, should go to the corners to use the walkways, and drivers need to take a deep breath.

“We know it’s frustrating. We know when you’re in traffic for a while you become emotionally charged and you’ll kind of push the envelope and do things you shouldn’t do, and that’s when the tragedies happen,” he said.”

With prior reporting by David Matthau.


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