HOUSTON, Texas - Another person has died along Highway 249 less than 24 hours after Eyewitness News reported the alarming number of people killed in that same area.
Melanie Mason had just gotten off the bus when she was hit by a Toyota 4-Runner. The driver stopped and was not charged. Investigators said Mason was distracted and looking at her cellphone as she crossed Highway 249 at Antoine Drive. She was not in the crosswalk.
Mason's parents say she was dependable.
"She was a hard worker," said Deborah Mason, Melanie's stepmom.
Every night, Mason rode the bus across town to get to her job at Jack-In-the-Box. Her stepmom said a co-worker would meet Mason at the stop, then drive her to the restaurant.
"She wanted to transfer, but they told her they needed her," Deborah said.
But last night, as Mason walked to meet her ride, she was hit.
"It's just a sad morning for me," said Cleveland Mason, Melanie's father. "I'm talking to my family members and friends, and it just hurts me."
Mason is the third person killed walking on this one mile stretch, in the last two weeks.
SEE ALSO: 3 people killed along Highway 249 within weeks
Calls for change along Hwy 249 after pedestrians killed
On Oct. 26, Brittany Nicole Spears, 27, was hit and run over by nine vehicles. None of the drivers stopped. Less than 28 hours after Spears was killed, Jason Groom was hit while crossing the road in the 13600 block of Highway 249. The driver didn't stop but later turned himself in. Toxicology reports indicate that Groom was intoxicated. The driver in his case was not charged.
"That's a lot. That really is, that's too many people," Deborah said. "And her birthday is less than two weeks away."
Mason would have turned 43 years old on Nov. 17.
Wednesday, traffic investigators told ABC13 that part of Highway 249 is one of the deadliest roads in Harris County. They said the lack of lighting at night is a problem.
A TXDOT spokesperson said they've asked the state for more lights. The request is pending. The spokesperson said they're also looking into installing medians, which would give walkers a place to stop while crossing six to seven lanes of traffic.
"Everybody just needs to slow down," Cleveland told us.
The speed limit in that area is 50 miles per hour. ABC13 drove it Thursday morning and didn't see speeders. But that was during the day when there are more cars on the road, slowed by stoplights.
Mason's parents say something must be done to prevent yet another death. Investigators agree. But it's not clear what or when we'll see change.
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