September 20, 2014

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Man hit, killed by car in Vermilion

VERMILION — A 42-year-old man was struck and killed Tuesday night as he walked across Liberty Avenue in an attempt to beat an approaching car, police said.

Billy Collins Jr., of Vermilion, was trying to cross from the north side of the road when he was hit shortly after 8:45 p.m. Tuesday by a 19-year-old Vermilion woman, said police Sgt. Michael Reinheimer. There are no pedestrian crosswalks in that section of Liberty Avenue, where the speed limit is 50 mph and visibility is limited.

Collins hit the passenger side of the vehicle, smashing in the windshield on impact. The driver, who has not been identified by police because she has not been cited for her involvement in the accident, told police she saw Collins standing in the center turn lane when he suddenly darted in front of her car.

“From the sounds of it, he just tried to beat the car and was hit,” Reinheimer said.

When officers arrived, he was barely breathing and unconscious, Reinheimer said. Officers started rescue breathing until North Central EMS arrived and took Collins to CHP Regional Medical Center in Lorain. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police are not sure if drugs or alcohol played a factor in the crash. Reinheimer said witnesses told officers prior to the accident Collins was at a nearby bar, where he reportedly only had one drink that he didn’t finish.

The accident happened on the 3500 block of Liberty Avenue near the Village Inn and Efficiencies, where Collins lived for nearly a year. He moved there from West Virginia less than a year ago.

Manager Jessica Mead said Collins worked for a local framing company and sometimes performed odd jobs around the complex.

Mead said she was inside her apartment when the squeal of tires sent her running outside. There, she saw Collins lying near a neighbor’s mailbox.

“He was a hard-working guy. Everybody knew him and he was friends with everybody,” she said. “He will be missed.”
Collins had no local family.

This is the third fatality in Vermilion involving a motor vehicle accident in the last two weeks.

On Sept. 13, Cara Whorton, 66, of Vermilion, was killed when her minivan was struck by a Ford Explorer as she pulled out of a shopping center onto Liberty Avenue. On Sept. 2, 27-year-old Jeremiah J. McIntyre, of Lorain, was killed when he lost control of his car and crashed along Liberty Avenue.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.