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Carmel Valley woman's death could be wake-up call to make road safer

By Jake Reiner, Reporter, JakeReiner@kionrightnow.com
Published On: Mar 19 2014 11:18:08 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 20 2014 02:45:23 PM CDT

After a crash that killed a Carmel Valley woman, questions remain about the potential dangers of Esqueline Road.

CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. -

Breezie Snyder, the Carmel Valley woman arrested for allegedly drinking and driving, has not made an appearance before a judge yet. California Highway Patrol officers say Snyder hit and killed her friend, Kate Thomas, who was walking along the road.

Wednesday, Central Coast News learned learned the District Attorney's Office requested a follow-up investigation from CHP.

Thomas was hit walking home on Esqueline Road two weeks ago. Neighbors said this road is dangerous because of its narrow appearance. There is barely enough room to walk alongside the road.

"The pedestrian traffic combined with the vehicle traffic has always been a dangerous situation," said Carmel Valley resident David Fairhurst.

Fairhurst has lived in Carmel Valley for the past 25 years. He said he's taken Esqueline Road thousands of times.

"I've seen particularly in the afternoons with school kids walking back it seems like there's a lot of near-misses," Fairhurst said.

With no clear sidewalks or bike lanes, CHP says you can walk on the roadway as long as you're on the left-hand side of the road. The issue, residents said, is that you can't see cars coming around the bend and it's hard to see pedestrians as cars are driving around the bend. It gets especially dangerous at night.

Fairhurst said he and others have asked County Supervisor Dave Potter for help to make the road safer in the past. Central Coast News called Potter several times but was unable to reach him.

Friends and family said Kate Thomas was wearing dark clothes and hit by the car as she bent down to pick up her cellphone at 2 in the morning.

Regardless of whether Snyder was driving under the influence, as CHP said, residents said the road needs to be safer.

"It doesn't seem like it would be a difficult situation to remedy," said Fairhurst.

Monterey County Public Works said it's working on compiling a history of the maintenance on Esquiline Road.