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Couple killed crossing street to attend church

For years, visitors to the Central church in Little Rock, Ark., successfully dodged traffic while crossing the street from the visitors’ parking lot to the church building.
But on a recent Wednesday night, Norma and Boyd Dorsey, the elderly parents of a church deacon and frequent visitors, were struck and killed by a sport utility vehicle.
Randy Dorsey said his parents, members at the Northside church in Benton, Ark., were visiting Central for a special class.
Norma Dorsey, 76, walked with a cane because of bad knees, and Boyd Dorsey, 80, walked slowly after suffering a stroke. Though across the street, the visitors’ parking is the closest lot to the main entrance.
“Daddy always got there early to get the closest parking spot so they didn’t have to walk as far,” Dorsey said.
He said his church family has helped his family deal with the tragedy: “They’ve been wonderful about helping us out — (offering) very sincere, heartfelt sympathy.”
While members support the grieving family, minister Leon Barnes has been working with the city to make the street safer.
City Manager Bruce Moore describes West Sixth as a major one-way traffic artery leading out of downtown Little Rock.
Near the church, the speed limit is 30 miles per hour. But pedestrian safety has been enough of a concern that for years the church hired an off-duty officer and used volunteers to help control traffic flow.
Darkness and falling rain contributed to the accident. Moore said the driver never saw the Dorseys before hitting them.
“It’s just a tragic, unfortunate accident,” Moore said. “But we want to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
To help, the city is adding a four-way stop with crosswalks and is improving the street lighting near the church.
A member of the Dorseys’ home congregation in Benton said the couple is “badly missed” there.
“Boyd was one of those people who when you were around him, you were smiling,” Oleta Lott said. “And Norma just had a love for people. They were just so devoted to each other.”

Filed under: National Staff Reports

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