Teens take action after hit-and-run accident critically injures 7-year-old

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A group of teenagers are planning an awareness walk near the area where a driver hit a 7-year-old boy, leaving him critically injured.

Last week, David Lopez was crossing Troy Avenue when the driver of an older style, maroon car hit him. The motorist then sped off. So far, police have received few tips.

Keystone Club, which is part of the Keenan-Stahl Boys and Girls Club, has planned the walk to take place Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Parents, teenagers, and community members have been invited to participate. The group will meet at the club off Troy Avenue. They will then walk down Troy Avenue and back on the side of the road, which does not have a sidewalk.

Organizers said the purpose of the walk is to promote safety. The group would like sidewalks installed in the area, as well as crosswalks.

“It’s very dangerous for anyone to walk down the streets and not have sidewalks and you just have to walk in the grass,” Techarleston White said.

White, 15, has been a member of the club for six years.

“Just be careful wherever you are because anything can happen. Even though there (aren’t any) sidewalks around here, it (doesn’t) take but a step,” White said.

The executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis said it is a huge problem. Kids often walk along the road and try to cross the road without a safe way to do it.

“It really concerns me ’cause this is a problem we’ve had for a number of years and we don’t see the city or anyone else really stepping up to help deal with the problem,” Rick Whitten said.

Several years ago, one of their members was killed walking along Troy Avenue. The 15-year-old teenager was trying to cross Troy Avenue to get to a bus stop.

Whitten said he has witnessed countless people walking on grass or near the road and trying to cross it.

“They run across. They aren’t as careful as they should be sometimes, but we can make that a safer environment for them, if we had proper crossing and proper sidewalks on both sides of the road,” Whitten said.

According to the Department of Public Works, there aren’t any plans to add sidewalks or crosswalks in the area right now. The agency said they have not received calls about issues or requests for additional services in the area.

“This is a very busy road and a lot of our kids walk to and from the club and plus there (are) other kids walking. There’s a major school right down the road and so without sidewalks it’s very dangerous,” Whitten said.

Thursday, the group walking will put together an assessment of the area and will take pictures. The information they collect, with the help of Health by Design, will be given to city officials. The assessment should be completed by the end of June. Organizers hope Thursday’s walk will make a difference.