INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools officials and members of the community are calling for increased safety and awareness after a 12-year-old girl was struck by a hit-and-run driver early Tuesday near Northwest Middle School.
IPS Board Commissioner Evan Hawkins and Northwest Middle School Principal Phil Shults addressed the media on Tuesday, saying more needs to be done to protect the students who are walking to and from school.
“We have to make sure that we drive home the message that drivers have to slow down and be conscious of the fact that this is a school zone and that young people are walking to school,” Hawkins said.
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Officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to the collision just before 7 a.m. at the intersection of West 34th Street and North High School Road.
IMPD Sgt. Vincent Stewart said in an email that medics transported the girl to Riley Hospital for Children in critical, but stable condition. Police have not provided information about a description of the vehicle involved in the crash.
IPS officials confirmed in a press conference Tuesday afternoon the girl is a seventh-grader at Northwest Middle School. This is the second time since September an IPS student was injured in a crash.
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“This is going to require IPS and our community partners, in general, to really dig in do a reassessment of the pathways and lighting and things of that nature,” Hawkins said. “We have to make sure that we drive home the message that drivers have to slow down and be conscious of the fact that this is a school zone and that young people are walking to school."
Abrial Certa’s, whose little brother goes to Northwest Middle School, said she has seen firsthand the dangers of students crossing those same types of intersections.
“That could have been my brother, but we drop him off and pick up him at the gas station but he could have been easily been hit just walking across the street because drivers don’t pay attention,” Certa said.
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The girl injured Tuesday was a little more than a half-mile away from the school when she was struck.
"I think the key is for drivers out there to please particularly near school zones to slow down and imagine your child walking to school,” Hawkins said.
Galita Harper knows all too well the dangers of crossing the intersection of 34th and North High School. She said her little brother was struck in 2018 while he was riding his bike to a nearby gas station.
“He had a big injury to where he had to go to the children's hospital and have two get surgery on his head and he ended up having a head injury,” Harper said.
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Harper said that driver fled the scene then, as well. She is echoing the same message from IPS officials.
“Watch out for the children, slow down and follow the road rules,” Harper said.
Police have not provided any additional information. The crash remains under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS (8477).
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