79-year-old Barstow man hit, killed in parking lot, refueling local road hazard complaints

A parking lot off Armory Road in Barstow, California.

A 79-year-old Barstow man died last week after a driver hit him in a retail-outlet parking lot, prompting some residents to reiterate complaints about hazards on local roads.

The San Bernardino County Coroner identified Barstow resident Jerry Lee Ellington as the victim of a fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision the evening of Nov. 17 in the parking lot of Stater Bros. Markets off Armory Road.

The driver who struck Ellington remained at the scene, Barstow Police Captain Chris Kirby told the Daily Press. Kirby said Sunday that BPD's investigation of the incident is ongoing and that no arrests had been made.

Officers got a report about the collision "in front of 957 Armory Road" at 6:08 p.m. Wednesday, according to the coroner. Ellington was declared dead at the scene about 10 minutes later.

Barstow PD did not identify the driver or provide further details on how the incident occurred.

Multiple residents who say they witnessed the scene that night recalled Armory Road being closed off in front of Stater Bros. and a body being covered up on the street, surrounded by first responders.

Some residents have taken to local Facebook groups to lament what they describe as a broader issue of reckless driving in and around crowded retail spaces.

"Jesus people I know y’all wanna get in and out of the store as fast as possible but it’s a parking lot not a race track chill out," one Stater Bros. worker, who declined to be named for this article, posted in a group on Friday. It is not clear if the worker was referencing any specific incident.

Other residents say they have almost been hit by cars in parking lots on recent occasions. Some expressed worries about kids, whose small stature and spontaneous nature makes them harder for drivers to notice.

Another issue some locals have pointed to is lighting, which they say is insufficient near roads and creates low visibility for local drivers to a dangerous effect.

"It is so dark in many of the areas of the community and the people have been speaking up asking for better lights," resident Vanessa Pack said.

The incident in Barstow is not the first of its kind among recent fatal collisions in the High Desert.

A four-year-old Apple Valley girl died on Oct. 16 after being backed over by a car in the parking lot of Vons Supermarket in Victorville. The driver in that incident, which occurred shortly before 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday, also remained at the scene after the collision.

San Bernardino County has logged upticks in injuries and deaths resulting from vehicle collisions in the last few years.

That includes 710 pedestrians who were injured or killed by vehicles in 2019 — the highest number of such victims since 2009, according to the county's most recently published data.

Charlie McGee covers the city of Barstow and its surrounding communities for the Daily Press. He is also a Report for America corps member with the GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world. McGee may be reached at 760-955-5341 or cmcgee@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @bycharliemcgee.

This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Barstow man hit, killed in retail parking lot, refueling local road hazard complaints