His mom was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Now he wants change: 'It's not safe'

Posted at 6:10 PM, Feb 01, 2023

HENRICO COUNTY, Va -- Melquan Robinson said he was "upset and enraged" after his mother, 49-year-old Trinesse Robinson, was killed by a hit-and-run driveron a rainy Tuesday night in Henrico County, according to police.

“It makes me sad that I lost my mom," Melquan said.

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The collision happened on West Broad Street near the intersection at Hungary Spring Road around 6:30 p.m. At the time of the incident, Melquan said his mom was trying to walk to 7/11.

Henrico Police said the driver of a Chevrolet pick-up truck did not stop at the scene. They released surveillance video in an effort to solicit help from the public identifying the vehicle or driver.

Police release video of fatal West Broad Street hit-and-run crash

“You got people who don’t have the human decency to at least stop and check on the person?" Robinson said.

“To the driver that may have been involved, whether you're scared, no license, whether you think you're impaired, please come forward," said Lieutenant Matt Pecka with Henrico Police. "Detectives want to speak with you about the incident to get the full story, hear both sides.”

Pecka said it's still unclear whether Robinson was trying to cross the street, but there isn't an intersection at the spot where Robinson was killed. There also isn't a paved sidewalk.

Asked by CBS 6 how pedestrians are supposed to safely navigate West Broad in the absence of a sidewalk, Pecka said, “We’re constantly working with our partners with traffic engineering. We also work with VDOT very closely. While you are correct the sidewalk is limited in that particular area, there is still a shoulder in which people utilize to navigate along West Broad Street.”

Pecka added that he encouraged pedestrians to cross at intersections in well-lit areas, wear reflective clothing, and consider having a lighted source on them such as a cell phone light or flashing beacon.

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On Wednesday, Melquan said he went to see the area where his mother was struck. He said the shoulder that Pecka mentioned is just a grassy area.

“It's not even a sidewalk. It’s lopsided, and then you realize that it’s uphill. It’s not easy to walk on, especially at night and raining," he said. "So, I don't think it's safe."

Robinson's death marked the second pedestrian fatality in Henrico County so far in 2023. Data provided by police show there were:

  • 8 pedestrian deaths in 2022
  • 11 pedestrian deaths in 2021
  • 8 pedestrian deaths in 2020
  • 10 pedestrian deaths in 2019

Melquan said to help get those numbers to zero, he believed the county needed more paved sidewalks.

“I definitely think it should be paved, so people can walk safely, and no one will have to go through what I’m going through," Melquan said.

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CBS 6 reached out to Henrico County's Department of Public Works to ask about its plans to make pedestrian safety improvements along West Broad Street.

Director Terrell Hughes said the department has "definitely noticed" concerns about a lack of sidewalks and crosswalks. He said when Broad Street was widened, there weren't plans to include sidewalks, so now the county is working to retrofit sidewalks.

"We've been pretty aggressive finding funding for it," Hughes said. "We have pretty much almost all of Broad Street funded for sidewalk now. We've been working with the state or VDOT, a number of their funding programs, and have kind of piece by piece applied for segments of sidewalk to be funded."

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Hughes said only two stretches of Broad Street haven't secured funding yet, including the interchange at I-64 and Glenside and the interchange near Short Pump.

Six projects are currently underway on West Broad, costing tens of millions of dollars combined.

One project includes adding a sidewalk from Dominion Boulevard to Springfield Road. Other projects include making safety enhancements such as transit improvements and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists in areas such as Willow Lawn, Pemberton Road to Parham Road, and Glenside Drive to Parham Road.

Hughes said VDOT funds projects in six-year cycles, and the county is now working on timelines to coordinate designs, right of ways, and actual construction.

"Broad Street has been a big focus, especially with transit. We've had a couple of areas that just frankly have too many pedestrian crashes, and a lot of them are fatal," Hughes said.

Robinson said his mother will be "greatly missed" and remembered as a "sweet soul."

"She was the life of the party. She was fashionable. She was extremely pretty," Melquan said. "I want my mom to be remembered as a strong individual who overcame a lot."

The family has established a GoFundMe to assist with funeral costs.

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