Columbus teen’s family calls for change after serious accident

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A teenager hit by a car remains in stable condition at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Jalen Lee, 13, was walking on the crosswalk in front of Columbus East High School on Monday morning. He was on his way to the school to catch a bus that would drop him off at Central Middle School.

A witness said Lee did not stop to look for oncoming traffic as he got closer to the crosswalk. Columbus detectives said the driver of the pickup truck could not avoid hitting Lee. It was dark and wet after it rained.

“I know accidents happen every day, but I’m going to tell you I do not ever want to see a child hit,” Wilma Summers said.

Summers is Lee’s aunt. She wants the crosswalk improved.

“I think our schools should be set up differently. (There need to be) flashing lights or lower (the) speed or something to protect the little children,” Summers said.

Columbus City Engineer David Hayward said they are working on improvements. This particular crosswalk on Marr Road has been identified as having problems. Five other locations have been identified in Columbus. It is part of the Safe Routes to School Plan.

“Part of the reason the project started in the first place was a young lady was hit in May of 2011, actually at the same crosswalk,” Hayward said.

That same month, the city applied for federal funding. It was approved in 2012. Construction will begin later this year. Hayward said there are plans for flashing lights or traffic signals, better signs and pavement markings at the crosswalk.

Hayward said Monday’s accident is a reminder why improvements are needed at that crosswalk.

“I wish we could have accelerated the project more, but it kind of reinforced that this is a location we really need to treat carefully and try to find the right solution and not skip over something,” Hayward said.

Both Hayward and Summers said people need to pay attention when they are driving.

“We need something done because this is the second (student) that’s been hit,” Summers said.

Columbus detectives said it is unlikely the driver of the pickup truck will face charges.

12 comments

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    Wait! So we're no longer blaming DST and the sun?

    Or are we blaming the rain as a co-conspirator?

    • Thomas Newton

      what if Jalen was you're kid what would you do because ive known jalen since 3rd grade and he is a good kid hell he is like my brother and it kills me to see him get hurt like that

      • ClanSmokeJaguar

        So you're saying we all should accept the original article's premise and blame DST and the sun?

        Lovely. Then as I mentioned name the rain and WTF…the moon too…as co-conspirators.

  • kathryn gillespie

    the man that hit him (not being mean but honest in my oppion) should face charges, cause he could have killed him.

    • Gat Monkey

      "A witness said Lee did not stop to look for oncoming traffic as he got closer to the crosswalk."

      This means Lee(the kid) didn't bother to look left, right and then left again as he should have before walking into the street as many youngsters seem to do early in the morning.

      I'm lucky I haven't put a few clad in black, hoody wearing teens and young adults on my hood in the wee hours of the morning.

      That said, why should the driver be charged and what should he be charged with in your opinion?

  • myidzmom

    "A witness said Lee did not stop to look for oncoming traffic as he got closer to the crosswalk."

    This means Lee(the kid) didn't bother to look left, right and then left again as he should have before walking into the street as many youngsters seem to do early in the morning
    Let's hold the parents responsible for not teaching him to stop and look before crossing.Always looking for someone else to blame.

  • Logic

    The driver should be charged? For hitting a boy who walked into a dark and rainy street without looking? Your statement is completely idiotic. The boy made a mistake, and thank goodness he's alive. The driver didn't do anything wrong.

  • brat

    But here is the question even if Lee was crossing the street and didn't look both ways like we are taught in kidengarden. Was he wearing dark clothes or a light colored coat for the driver to see him more clearly since Lee was crossing in the crosswalk?????

  • Rylan Get Well Jalen

    he wears a bright as hell hoodie so yeah dont blame him the drivers headlights were not on.
    i was there…
    ask my friend Jacob Rhoades.

  • Elaine

    I feel really bad for what the child is going through and the parents, it's got to be just terrible….but these days there is no such thing as personal responsibility anymore. If you walk out into traffic, then it is your fault…period. That man has to live with this image for the rest of his life and all he did was try to get from point A to point B that morning. It doesn't even matter what you are wearing, it takes time to stop a vehicle, they don't just stop on a dime because someone has walked out into the road.

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