2012-02-09 / Front Page

Pedestrian killed on M-55 Feb. 4

A 24-year-old Prudenville woman was killed when she was struck by a vehicle as she walked on M-55 near Malcomb Street on Feb. 4.

Denton Township Police Chief Dallas McGeary said it is believed that bright sunlight was impacting westbound traffic at 5:18 p.m. when Kimberly Brzenka, who was walking westbound in the curb lane of M-55, just east of Knappen Creek, was struck by a westbound vehicle driven by Sandra Byberneit, 69, of Houghton Lake.

Denton Township Police Officer William Kaleta, who investigated the case and was assisted at the scene by State Police Trooper Harold Terry and Roscommon County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Greiser, said Brzenka’s mother, Annette Brzenka, was walking 50 to 100 feet ahead of her daughter when the accident occurred. Kaleta said he was in the area at the time of the accident, and that as he drove to the scene “the sun just blinded me also.”

McGeary said Brzenka was transported by Denton Township Ambulance to West Branch Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Kaleta said that witnesses at the scene said Byberneit was traveling below the speed limit when the accident occurred. The case is under review by the Roscommon County Prosecutor.

“It’s so dangerous to walk along M-55,” said Kaleta, who added that pedestrians have the right to walk in the road. “It’s really not recommended, but if someone does have to walk in the roadway, we advise them to be very cautious,” he said.

State Police Trooper John Julin of Post 72, Houghton Lake, said that, by law, pedestrians (walkers or runners) must face oncoming traffic when traveling on a roadway, and that bicyclists must travel with the flow of traffic. He said that when available, walkers must use sidewalks or pathways rather than the roadway.

However, Julin warned, “Our pathways (along M-55) are not pathways in the winter, because they are not plowed or serviced.”

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