City, school will work to make crosswalk safer after second student is hit

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A Columbus family’s prayers have been answered.

“He is pulling through,” said Crystal Estes, Jalen Lee’s mother.  “He is getting way better.”

Jalen Lee has been upgraded from critical to good condition.

“They are talking about taking the ventilator off of him today, but their main concern is his spleen,” said Estes.

Jalen’s recovery so far, has been a series of small victories.

“His mom said, ‘Jalen, Grandma Bonnie is here.’  It is what he always calls me,” said Bonnie Lee, Jalen Lee’s grandmother.  “He squeezed my hand and he tried to sit up and pucker his lips to kiss me.  It was so emotional because he is a very loving child.”

The 13-year-old was hit by a car as he was walking to school on March 11, 2013.  Lee was the second Columbus-area student to be hit at the crossing in three years.  Now, the city, and the school are stepping up to make it safer.

‪”This is a location we really need to treat carefully and try to find the right solution and not skip over something,” said Columbus City Engineer David Hayward.

The left side of Jalen’s body is pretty banged up. He has cracked ribs, a collapsed lung and a broken nose.  He also had surgery to fix his broken left femur.

Columbus Police said it was still dark, and the teen walked right into oncoming traffic.  The driver said he could not stop in time.

Cops said the man behind the wheel will not be cited.  Crystal Estes said he should be.

“I am pretty sure he has enough common sense to stop at a crosswalk when kids are going to school,” said Estes.  “I want justice for my son.”


  • FutureIsOnUs

    Im assuming since the driver wasn't cited this young man was 1) wearing dark clothes in the wee hours of the morning, 2) did not check his surroundings before attempting to cross at a cross walk. Im curious as to what "justice" this woman wants?

    • ClanSmokeJaguar

      Your assumption #2 was correct by eye witness testimony. The boy blindly walked out into the street. Nothing else matters.

      And frankly, if a girl who got liquored up in the wee hours of the morning can plow into two city workers, killing them, while frakking with her phone and not be charged, don't go looking for justice here.


      • guest

        In reference to the accident involving the paramedics, according to reports from the prosecutor's office both vehicles were driving above the posted limit, and the driver of the car's BAC was well below the legal limit.

  • Unfortunate

    The driver did nothing wrong or he would have been cited. Jalen was probably not in the crosswalk. When it comes down to it, it is an unfortunate accident. Nobody wins. Still not sure about what kind of justice the mom wants….

    • anonymous person

      According to eyewitness report stated he was in the crosswalk but did not look up at all before walking into the street. It is standard protocol to check the drivers phone for activity, calls, texts and if there is activity the driver is cited. Also according to eyewitnesses, drivers testimony and from what the police were able to establish the driver was not speeding. It is unfortunate, but school aged and even college kids need to be more careful and not take the attitude that traffic will always stop. You would think with as much kids are on their phones they would recognize that drivers may at times be distracted and as a vulnerable pedestrian they should be as careful as possible. So to the mom, please tell me what is this justice you seek? Why cant it be an unfortunate event and be left at that?

  • The_Taminator

    "The left side of Jalen’s body is pretty banged up."

    Please tell me this is a quote that didn't get quotation marks, and is not the way staff will be writing reports from now on.

  • jjj

    That is very tasteless to post that picture. If he was my kid I'd try to have that taken down, poor guy.

  • Concerned Mother

    My son and his friend told me about this the day it happened, I think they know him. But they said they also heard that the driver had a heart attack after he hit the boy cause he was so shaken up. I haven't heard anything else on that about the driver. But I have heard that it was dark and there were no street lights in that area and the driver couldn't see well. I think if it were me, I would be taking it up with the city for sure, no lights! no crossing guard! daylight savings time! all that is on the city failing to make sure that the kids are safe on their way to school!

    • Max Power

      Yes, yes, someone or something must always be to blame, right? If it were your kid, I'm sure the driver would have seen his bubble-wrapped body from miles away.

      • Bigb73

        Oh Max – that is funny. When will people realize that accidents happen whether by fault or happenstance. Someone is getting sued I assure you.

      • Marine57

        Good point, but all too many kids don't care about how to cross the street. They seem to have an attitude of DARING a car to hit them – they have been drilled too much that the pedestrian has the right-of-way. But that is true only if the pedestrian is also obeying the rules. A kid is foolish to think that they can just walk right out into traffic and not get run over.
        I took a Taco Bell employee home one night when I discovered that he was wearing all-black clothes and a hoodie and walking home on a dark, rural, heavily-travelled, 2-lane road with no sidewalk. The next day, I purchased $10 worth of reflective strips for him to paste on his sleeves and legs. The day after that, I purchased a $30 LED headlight with a red LED backlight for him to wear. This gear may very well save his life. WHERE ARE HIS PARENTS IN ALL OF THIS???

    • James

      Sometimes, we need to hold ourselves accountable and not rely on the city and everyone else. It has already been reported that this young man did not look before he crossed. Something we as parents are supposed to instill in them. Don't get me wrong, safety changes are always good and a feel for this boy. He is no criminal. However, DST is definitely the problem and needs to be addressed.

    • ANS

      Or maybe the driver should have had brighter headlights so that he could see Jalen. I agree that Jalen should have been looking,or maybe he was looking, but the city and driver are both the ones that should be put to blame here. The city for not having lights or any kind of warning sign and the driver for not being bright enough to be paying attention and have clearer and brighter headlights.

  • Tanya

    Thoughts and prayers wit this boy and his mother and family. i think the cross walk should be lite up more but the most important thing is For him to get better thats all that realy matters at this point. We will be keeping this boy and family in are prayers god bless

  • Rural Woman

    I feel very bad for Jalen & his family but I think Daylight Saving Time is most likely the guilty culprit. Kids don't need to be walking to school in the dark. It is too dangerous for several reasons. Time to stay on Eastern Time year around.

    • FutureIsOnUs

      He is 13 not 6, he is old enough to be in trouble and on probation then he is old enough to know how to cross a lit street, a dark street, at a cross walk, in the middle of the road. Blaming anyone but this kid is enabling him to believe he did nothing wrong and is invincible for sure. Hopefully this is a wake up call for him and he gets himself together not only from this accident but his downward spiral he seemed to be heading in before this accident.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.