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2 people hit by car in broken Palm Springs crosswalk

Two people were hit by a car while crossing the street on a busy Palm Springs roadway – weeks after someone warned the city a key safety feature there was broken.

Palm Springs resident Matt Robinson said while driving by the flashing crosswalk on Palm Canyon Drive near Prescott Drive a few weeks ago, he saw a group stepping off the curb.

"The lights were not flashing...I saw these people have to jump back to avoid being hit," Robinson said.

He said pulled over and filed a July 26 report with the city, warning that the flashing crosswalk was, in part, "dark to oncoming vehicles."

Just more than two weeks later, at about 10:30 last Friday night, two pedestrians entered the crosswalk and were struck by a car, police said.

Both people were injured and brought to the hospital. Police confirmed the flashing crosswalk was not working that night.

"There's a sign on these pieces of equipment that say 'push button for warning lights.' That gives a false sense of security," Robinson said. "If you push that button and step off the curb, you assume there's warning lights."

Robinson coincidentally was passing by just after the accident happened. He said his warnings that someone could get hurt went unheard until it was too late.

"I got a message back from Justin Clifton, the city manager, who said I was nothing but somebody that sat at the computer and complained. Two weeks later people were laying in the crosswalk," he said.

In a statement to News Channel 3, a spokesperson for the city of Palm Springs wrote: "The City takes our role in maintaining crosswalks seriously..." The official couldn't comment on the status of the flashing crosswalk, though News Channel 3 found it was at least partially working Wednesday.

According to California's vehicle code, since the collision happened in a marked crosswalk, the pedestrian has the right of way.

Palm Springs police department said the driver has not been charged as the investigation continues.

Taking action himself, Robinson put up makeshift warning signs in hopes that pedestrians, and the city, will take a second look.

"This isn't fixed. Clearly it can happen over and over again," he said.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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