By Abby Wargo
Another Washington College student was hit by a vehicle while attempting to cross the intersection at Campus Avenue and Route 213. This is the second student hit at that particular crosswalk this school year, according to Director of the Department of Public Safety Gerald Roderick.
On Tuesday, Feb. 13, a student was walking down Washington Avenue from Minta Martin on her way to Cromwell Hall for class. At the crosswalk, the pedestrian signal was given and she began to cross, Roderick said.
A vehicle was heading north on Washington Avenue and made a right turn on the red light and hit the student while turning, according to Roderick.
“She took maybe two or three steps in [to the road].The car saw a break in traffic and made the right turn on red, striking the student in the process of advancing forward to make that turn,” he said.
The student was able to brace herself for the impact, rolled to the side of the vehicle, and when the car stopped, she got back up and spoke to the driver, Roderick said.
“She was shocked,” he said. “When something like that happens so quickly, you can’t quite process everything that’s occurred and you don’t often take time to see if you’re injured or not; your reaction is to get up from the situation and get back somewhere safe.”
After speaking with the driver, the student went to her class in Cromwell. After the class was over, she went to Health Services to check for injuries. After an evaluation, it was determined that there were none save for some minor bruising and leg pain, according to Roderick.
Public Safety was notified, and the student was brought to their office to speak with the Chestertown Police Department and file an incident report. Motor vehicle accidents on a public road are the jurisdiction of the police department, not the College, said Roderick.
“This has been a crosswalk we have been expressing our concerns about ever since we started the building of Cromwell because we knew more students would be accessing the road at that point,” he said.
Roderick said to be aware that the crosswalk is in the midst of a dangerous intersection.
“People in those turn lanes are watching for breaks in traffic and aren’t looking out for pedestrian traffic, so when you’re approaching, your situational awareness needs to be very high,” he said.
High situational awareness, Roderick said, includes studying the drivers and anticipating what their next move will be through analyzing their head movements and turn signals.
“So, it’s not a time to be texting on your phone. Even when you have the right-of-way, you’ve got to be really careful,” he said.
Roderick said that he wanted to remind the WC community that Public Safety is tracking the safety of the Campus Avenue crosswalk.
Over winter break, Public Safety installed a camera on the Alumni House to monitor the crosswalk and find safety issues. The camera captured the accident as it occurred, and Roderick said he intends to take the footage to the Chestertown Town Council as a “valuable testimony.”
Public Safety’s goal is to convince the town and the Maryland State Highway Administration to install an all-traffic stop at the crosswalk.
“If people are experiencing any near misses or unsafe conditions that we should know about, we can go back and capture those instances on the camera and keep a good file on what’s happening down there,” he said.
If you experience an issue at the crosswalk, contact Public Safety and provide the date and time of the incident so that they can capture the video footage of the incident.