The two young people stood in the crosswalk early Tuesday afternoon and looked both ways, waited until oncoming traffic was clear, then began making their way across Lodi Avenue.
By the time they'd crossed two lanes, a white Jeep was coming in the remaining two lanes, apparently oblivious to the fact that two people were walking across the road.
The driver learned of her mistake soon enough when a police car pulled up behind her. She declined to comment about what had just transpired as she sat in her vehicle waiting for an officer to finish filling out a citation.
Like others ticketed Tuesday, the driver will end up paying more than $100 for the violation, Carillo said.
In two hours, Lodi police officers handed out 22 such citations at the Avena Avenue crosswalk. Two vehicles were towed because the drivers had suspended licenses.
"It's getting to that time of year when people are going to be out holiday shopping, carrying bags. People complain when they get tickets, but it gets a lot worse when there's an accident," said Sgt. Steve Carillo, who oversees the traffic unit that conducted Tuesday's operation.
The Police Department occasionally targets specific driving problems, and recently ticketed drivers who were speeding in school zones.
In March, two Tokay High School students were struck in a crosswalk in front of the school, and one later died of her injuries.
Legally, Carillo said, pedestrians may not cross the street until the roadway is clear -- even if they are waiting in a crosswalk.
Officer Chris Kaufman of the Lodi Police Department issues a citation to a motorist for failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians at the corner of West Lodi and Avena avenues on Tuesday. (Casey Freeman/News-Sentinel)
Problems arise, however, on roads like Lodi Avenue which has four lanes of traffic. By the time pedestrians get even halfway across the road, more vehicles are approaching.
The Avena Avenue crosswalk was the recent subject of a complaint to police, Carillo said.
Two people, including a pregnant woman, had gotten halfway across the road when more cars began passing. More than half a dozen cars nearly hit the couple, who found themselves trapped in the middle of the street, Carillo said.
Lynn Ortega, who was ticketed Tuesday and then returned to take notes and measurements, said the crosswalk itself isn't safe.
"The crosswalk should be removed. It's dangerous. If you step out, you're going to get hit," she said, pointing out that there are lighted intersections to the east and west.
The crosswalk is certainly not the only one of its kind. Pedestrians are frequently seen running and almost getting hit as they try to cross four lanes of Church Street traffic at Locust Street.
And the bottom line, Carillo said, is that drivers need to watch for pedestrians.
On Monday morning, a Lodi girl was riding her bicycle with traffic at Mills Avenue and Elm Street when a truck failed to stop in time.
The driver saw the girl at the last minute and slammed on his brakes, but not before the girl rode into him, Carillo said.
The girl was not hospitalized, but the driver was cited.
Some of the drivers stopped Tuesday were not happy, and one returned, saw the officers at the intersection and accused them of entrapment.
"We're not forcing them to do something that's illegal," Carillo said. "(The cadets) are crossing the street the right way; they're not stepping out into traffic."
Cadets Kyle Barrow and Erika Urrea crossed the street numerous times before the two-hour operation ended, and many vehicles did stop in time.
"When other people don't stop, we do," Barrow said.
Contact reporter Layla Bohm at firstname.lastname@example.org.