Driver charged in death of dog walker Janet McFadden

janet mcfadden
Janet McFadden

Updated Saturday, April 2, 2016, 10:36am
Janet McFadden, who owned Davidson Pet Sitters, has been identified as the victim of Friday’s fatal pedestrian accident South Main Street.

 McFadden was walking two dogs on the crosswalk between Flatiron Kitchen and Raeford’s Barber Shop when she was struck by a Republic Services garbage truck around 12:15pm Friday.

Police have charged the driver, Jeffrey Wilburn, 38, with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

A small shrine of flowers and tributes to McFadden has appeared outside Millstone Bake House, near where she died.  Davidson Mayor John Woods said Saturday morning a community vigil is planned at 6pm Saturday at Town Hall nearby, 216 S. Main St.

Davidson Police and Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department’s Major Crash Investigation Unit responded to the crash, which closed Main Street for several hours.

After an investigation, police provided this account Friday night:  Mr. Wilburn made a left turn from South Street onto South Main Street.  The truck then struck  McFadden as she was crossing the street in the marked crosswalk. McFadden was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said speed and alcohol were not factors in the crash.

Flatiron Kitchen and Millstone Bake House restaurants near the accident site were closed Friday afternoon and evening.

McFadden had run her dog-walking business for the past 13 years, according to her website. She was a Connecticut native. She leaves her husband, Brian Freeman, and four children. She also leaves her former husband, Michael McFadden, along with many friends and clients at Davidson Pet Sitters.

The town of Davidson had recently installed crosswalk lights at the intersection of where South Main Street, South Street and Chairman Blake Drive.  It wasn’t clear Friday night whether the crosswalk lights were active at the time of the crash.

Pedestrian safety has been a major concern in in Davidson in recent years. Town officials added new signs and crossing lights around town after a couple of previous incidents.

In 2011, Davidson College professor Robert Whitton died of injuries he suffered after being struck while crossing Concord Road. Whitton was walking home from campus one evening when he was hit by a car driven by a Concord man. That driver eventually was found guilty of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.

A Hough High School student was seriously injured in 2013 when he was hit while skateboarding across Davidson-Concord Road.

Both incidents brought calls for safety improvements and enforcement. The town has improved signs and markings on and around crosswalks, and in some cases put up new crossing signals.  Some crosswalks now have orange safety flags pedestrians can wave as they cross to signal traffic to slow down.

But getting drivers to heed all the signals and flags has been difficult, and residents often share stories about near misses.


April 1, 2014, “Pedestrian killed while crossing S. Main St.”

3 thoughts on “Driver charged in death of dog walker Janet McFadden

  1. Suggested change for improved safety on crosswalks on Main St. Change signals so that traffic signals are ALL RED when crosswalk signal is GREEN. No more yield to pedestrian on left hand turn. Keep traffic light red instead.


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