Re: Amanda “Mandy” Weyant-Ferguson killed in a hit-and-run on Thanksgiving Day
When thinking of my years knowing Mandy, I can remember two important moments at the beginning of our friendship. The first time I saw her at a Halloween party, strutting around in a leotard Batman suit and I just thought, “Man! That girl has balls. I like it.” I could never wear that costume with the confidence she had, and she owned that outfit.
The second time, we went to a friend’s birthday party and it was filled with people. Everyone was gathering in their small groups of close friends to take photos together while Mandy and I watched, not really having a group of girlfriends to take photos with. Finally, Mandy told me, “Screw it! Let’s just go together and take our own photo.” And we did. It was that moment I realized I had a friend who no matter what, would be there.
One of the first times I went out on Cincinnati Street, a girl had her leg broken being hit by a car. That was six years ago, and there have been many more since. Mandy isn’t my first friend to be struck by a car in that area. She’s the second. If this has been an ongoing issue in the area, why has the city allowed our safety to be in jeopardy?
The sidewalks on Mesa are cracked, there’s loose gravel all over the ground, the corner pedestrians walk on is narrow and dangerous, and you are expected to walk from one section of the district to another right next to a busy roadway where the speed limit is 45 MPH. There are no railings, no reflective barriers, nothing to protect bar patrons from the busy roadway.
In 2017, a woman died when a drunk driver hit a traffic sign and it struck her in the head. Since this was on Mardi Gras and there was heavy police presence that evening, they were able to respond quickly to the scene.
The police department is understaffed and overworked. The Westside department is in charge of a large region of the city and has limited resources to work with. They need help, and the city needs to do more to help. If there had been more police presence or more traffic safety measures the evening Mandy died, maybe the driver wouldn’t have been able to get away.
We know that this man didn’t stop to render aid. He didn’t stop at the scene of the accident. He didn’t even brake for her. He ran right through that light and struck our beautiful Mandy, and he killed her. We want to make sure that the city of El Paso, TxDOT and our community all work together to find a way to make the Cincinnati District safer.
The city put in new lights above the street to beautify the area. The streetcar now curves right around the street. But none of that matters if people visiting that area are scared they won’t make it home from their night out and stop going.