By Tammy Wilson
Tuesday morning of last week, (August 26, 2008), a female resident student was hit by a truck driven by a university employee. She was given immediate medical attention and the driver of the truck was unharmed. The student was released from the hospital on the same day, a little bruised and sustaining a minor fracture in her wrist, according to the Campus Police Chief Dr. Tom Johnson.
When I interviewed Chief Johnson, the police report was not yet completed and the investigation as to the cause of the accident was just beginning. However, Johnson speculated that the visibility that morning was severely impaired by the rainfall, which may have been one of the contributing factors.
The university employee who unwittingly struck the student may be held responsible and since the employee is part of the administration, any charges/penalties will be decided by University Administrators.
Since the accident there have been additional warning signs place in the medians in many of the “hot spots” on campus. However the Police Chief stated that the signs were already in the process of being put out before the accident occurred and the alert for pedestrian and driver safety had become a concern.
Police Chief Tom Johnson said there have been many calls placed by drivers concerning pedestrian’s inattention to what is going on around them. The complaints are from people crossing the road outside the designated areas (crosswalks). The majority of complaints are from drivers who have to slam on their brakes because multi-taskers who are too distracted by cell-phones or friends to pay attention to what the traffic signs tell them to do. If this continues to be a concern the Police Chief is willing to have any distracted, jaywalking, students ticketed in order to call everyone’s attention to their personal safety and that of those around them.
The Police Chief wished to emphasize that though we are legally protected in the crosswalks we are not physically protected. Pedestrians need to pay attention. Even though this accident doesn’t seem to be the student’s fault, it is a clear warning to all other students, faculty and visitors to pay attention and follow the laws that are in place for our protection.