Pedestrian Death Leads to Sidewalk Concerns

By: Meg Rose - Email
By: Meg Rose - Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH-- A heartbroken family travels all the way from China to mourn the death of their son in Panama City Beach.

21 year old Gou Yuxin, also known as Alfred, came to America on a J1 work visa.

He was hit by a car Friday night while walking along Alf Coleman Road. He died in a local hospital a few days later.

His mother and his girlfriend visited the site Wednesday where Gou Yuxin was hit.They found his glasses and watch in the grass.

"Every night I can't sleep, and if I sleep I will dream I think of when that car hit my boyfriend," said Alfred's girlfriend Ping Gao.

Ping Gao said they were on their way to the beach Friday night walking on the grass.

There is a sidewalk on the left side of the road, but in China it's customary to walk on the right.

They were using a cellphone as a flashlight so cars could see them.
"But I don't know why that car crashed into Alfred," said Ping Gao.

Gao said it all happened so fast, "Alfred flew very far and the car can't stop."

"When you don't have sidewalks and you are forced to walk in the middle of the road you have to rely on safe drivers to be able to pay attention on where you're at," said local resident Stephanie WIlliams.

Unfortunately it doesn't look as if things will change on Alf Coleman anytime soon.

"The city tends to focus on where the majority of the people are being served, and that roadway doesn't have anywhere near the amount of traffic, foot traffic, pedestrian traffic, that front beach road does," said Panama City Beach City Manager Mario Gisbert.

Bin Lin is a sponsor of the J1 program. He says this tragedy has taught him a tough lesson. One he will pass on to future students.

"We will teach students before they arrive to America next year."

Alfred's death will lead to better education of American practices before foreign students come to work in America.

This is the parents first time to America and this was their only son.


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