Collision calls for heightened awareness

The accident that injured two pedestrians last month is helping bring awareness to Northern Kentucky University about traffic and pedestrian safety.
Foggy car windows were to blame for the collision that occurred on Kenton Drive Oct. 19 when Candice McLaurine’s car collided with Louis Oder and Ashley Katt, according to the police report.

Stage management major Rachel Burson was driving from the Campus Recreation Center when she witnessed the collision.

“I saw the two girls walking and stopped for them to let them pass,” Burson said. “As they walked by, I watched the car come around the corner.”
Burson said she heard the car hit Oder. Burson pulled into the closest parking lot and rushed over to aid the injured pedestrians.

“(Oder) continually said that her head and legs were killing her, but she was able to pull her legs up to her chest,” Burson said. “I told her to stay down and to stop moving and that an ambulance was on its way. Then I went over to the next girl. Someone had helped her out of the road and onto the sidewalk.”
Burson assisted Katt in calling her husband and mother to inform them of the accident, because Katt was unsettled. Katt was thrown about 20 feet upon impact. Burson also helped both victims find their shoes, which where thrown off in the collision.

“What made it so scary is that (Katt) had on tied gym shoes, and they were completely thrown off her feet,” Burson said. “That shows how hard they were actually hit.”

Both victims were taken by Campbell County EMS to University Hospital in Cincinnati. In a previous report, it was disclosed that there were no internal injuries; but the more seriously injured of the two suffered a broken leg and bruising, and some of the injuries required surgical staples.
“We are evaluating the lighting at crosswalks all over campus,” said NKU Chief of Police Jason Willis. “We are always looking for new ideas to provide a safer environment for our community.”

After witnessing the traumatic experience, Burson encourages NKU to increase pedestrian safety. She wants everyone to be safe when walking anytime on campus, along with further elevation of the crosswalks on campus.

“If campus wants to improve student safety, I think they need to raise that crosswalk so it’s like a speed bump,” Burson said. “That would force people to slow down when driving and would force people to look as they come around the corner so they don’t bottom-out their car on the bump.”
If people do not speed and make sure to stop at all stop signs, it would help to ensure everyone of their safety, Willis said.

“Don’t text or use cell phone while driving,” Willis said. “Driver inattention is most often the main cause of pedestrian-vehicle accidents. We do also have a significant amount of pedestrians who don’t pay attention when crossing the streets also … We just need drivers and pedestrians both to be more careful, especially at night and during inclement weather.”