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.