Another deadly weekend on HC Andersen Boulevard

After motorist runs down and kills a young woman in front of Tivoli for the second death on the busy thoroughfare in two weeks, deputy mayor calls on police to do more

The second pedestrian death in less than a month on HC Andersen Boulevard has a Copenhagen deputy mayor calling on police to do more to prevent the tragedies.

On Friday night, 46-year-old Cilla Olander Johansson was run down and killed while crossing the intersection near Tivoli Gardens and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Johansson was walking home from a blues concert in Amager  with her boyfriend when a 22-year-old drunk driver ran the red light while he apparently texted on his mobile phone.

Police say the man, who was clocked at over 100 km/h as he ran the red light, has pleaded guilty to the crime and been remanded to custody for 24 days. He admitted to consuming “two large glasses of whiskey” before taking the wheel, and one of two women who were riding in the backseat of the car told police that the driver had also been smoking cannabis and snorting cocaine. She said that he was having trouble standing before he sat down to drive.

Friends in shock
Johansson was a familiar face to many in the Copenhagen music scene, especially among those who play and support blues music.

Family, friends and musicians took to Facebook and set up impromptu street memorials to their fallen friend.

“I was devastated when I heard that our good friend and fan Cilla was killed on her way home from our show Friday night,” wrote members of the Jake Green Blues Band on Facebook. “She died because of someone else’s carelessness.”

Other friends expressed their sense of anger, powerlessness and frustration at the loss of such an energetic and well-loved young woman in such a senseless fashion.

“This was a woman in her prime who would have lived many more years. We honour your memory and thank you for what you gave us,” wrote one.

Deputy mayor wants more from police
This is the second speed-related death of a pedestrian on HC Andersen Boulevard in just two weeks. On October 20, a 26-year-old woman was struck and killed by a speeding taxi near Tivoli.

The city's deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs, Ayfer Baykal (SF), wants greater police enforcement of speed limits on HC Andersen Boulevard after the two fatal accidents.

“Two deaths in one month is tragic; terrible,” Baykal told Politiken newspaper.

Baykal said that the street is obviously a magnet for speeders and that police need to do a better job patrolling the deadly stretch of road.

"Instead of giving fines for cyclists making illegal right turns, police should focus their efforts on saving lives,” she said, adding that although she acknowledged that the city’s cyclists often behave poorly, “they rarely kill anyone”.

Baykal said she would support the idea or either more police patrols or speed cameras along the street.

"Two serious accidents on the same street show that something must be done,“ she told Politiken. “These two accidents could have been avoided."

The 22-year old involved in Johansson’s death is charged with with drunken driving, involuntary manslaughter and exceeding the speed limit. Despite the serious nature of his crimes, his punishment could be minimal. A similar case with similar charges from 2006 resulted in just 15 months in prison for the driver.

The weekend also saw tragic accidents in both Roskilde and Svendborg. On Saturday night, a 35-year-old man and his friend were driving on a motorcycle at extremely high speeds through Roskilde. After going as fast as 200 km/h, the motorcycle hit a stone wall and both the driver and passenger were sent sailing into the window of a nearby house. The passenger survived, but the motorcyclist died from his injuries. In Svendborg, a 15-year-old girl died on Saturday night from injuries sustained in an accident on Thursday in which she was hit by a vehicle. There are no indications in the latter incident that the driver was speeding. 

There was also a fatal accident near the Jutland town of Thy this morning when a vehicle crossed into incoming traffic and was struck by a lorry. The vehicle's driver was killed from the impact.