RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A mother is seeking safer pedestrian options near Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), after a student was hit by a car and killed last week.
The mother, who goes by Kimberly, said her son, John, is a freshman at the university. In October 2022, John was hit by an SUV at the intersection of West Franklin and North Laurel Streets — Kimberly says he had the right of way and was crossing with other students. John received minor injuries to his lower body during the accident, according to Kimberly.
Not far from where the incident occurred, 22-year-old Mahrokh Khan lost her life just last week. Khan died of her injuries after being hit by a car while crossing the street near Laurel and West Main Streets.
VCU police said there have been 32 pedestrian-involved incidents on the Monroe Park and medical college campuses since January of last year.
Kimberly says she wants more safety improvements to reduce the number of students getting hit while crossing the street.
“I’m hoping something happens right away. I just want them to start putting some actions into place. Put together some policies, put together some different speed limits,” Kimberly said. “I just want something to be looked at so they can keep the security and safety of the students and their staff in mind. It’s an issue here on campus. I just want them to take a look at it.”
After her son’s accident, Kimberly sent a letter to VCU and city officials requesting an action plan to reduce the number of pedestrian accidents near the campuses.
8News reached out to both the mayor’s office and VCU. The mayor’s office did not respond to the station’s request for comment, but Brian McNeil, VCU’s director of public affairs said:
“We remind all community members to please be aware of the importance of sharing the roads in and around VCU. Using designated crosswalks, staying focused on traffic signals and sharing intersections are ways in which drivers, cyclists and pedestrians can stay safe.
While operating a phone while driving is illegal in Virginia, we also encourage cyclists and pedestrians not to use phones, or ear buds while traveling, as these can distract you from your surroundings. Please follow posted speed limits, travel slowly through busy intersections and keep an eye out for others on roadways.”
Kimberly’s son is doing better but she’s still upset about what happened to him.
“It’s heartbreaking and you’re constantly worried for your children, for your students because their safety is at risk,” she said. “I don’t see too many measures put in place to help them.”