Charlotte Department of Transportation makes changes year after death on 7th street

by: Allison Latos Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Almost one year after Autumn Soyka of Charlotte was killed crossing 7th Street in the Elizabeth neighborhood, Eyewitness News learned Charlotte's Department of Transportation is making changes.

A cross and flowers still mark the spot where the 31-year-old was hit and killed in October 2011.

Whitney Slawson works in the Elizabeth neighborhood and said that accident is always on her mind.

"I think about it pretty much every time I cross the street and every time I pass the memorial," said Slawson.

CDOT crews installed new pedestrian crossing signals this week at the intersection of Pecan Avenue and North Caswell Road.

They also installed a new curb and wheelchair ramp near the cross walks.

Kennedy's Bar and Grill owner, Kevin Marcus, told Channel 9 he doesn't think pedestrians will go out of their way to use the crosswalks, especially at night.

Marcus pushed to make 7th Street safer since Soyka's death.

He's glad to see the improvements, but wants a walkway closer to Jackalope Jacks.

Marcus also said drivers travel faster than the 35 mile per hour speed limit.

"I think everyone needs to get together and look at the real world realities of how people are walking back and forth," said Marcus. "We want to make sure nothing like this never happens again."

The driver accused of hitting and killing Soyka, Stephen Watts, is still charged with involuntary manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

Watts will be in court on Oct. 4.