Safety improvements to come where high school student killed

by: Mark Becker Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Some safety improvements are coming to an intersection in east Charlotte where a high school student was killed as she crossed the road in March 2012.

People living in a retirement community and neighboring apartment complex in southwest Charlotte are hoping a candlelight vigil will bring some safety changes there after a man was killed last September.

And the mother of another student who was killed as she walked to school in west Charlotte wants more students to ride school buses so the same doesn't happen to them.

They're all examples of what is an encouraging trend in Charlotte -- pedestrian accidents drawing attention in neighborhoods and communities and bringing changes that may be one reason that fatal pedestrian accidents have dropped dramatically in 2013.

After five years of rising fatalities, from nine in 2008 to 21 in 2012, the Charlotte Department of Transportation reports only six fatal pedestrian accidents so far in 2013.

A spokeswoman for the DOT said there is no single explanation for the big drop, except that it does mirror a national trend and may be because more people are paying attention on streets and sidewalks or getting involved.

"I remember her laughter. I remember when I would call, she would answer, 'Mommy, how are you?'" said Katrina White, whose daughter, Brittany, was killed crossing Eastway Drive in March 2012.

White has pushed for improvements and on Tuesday night the DOT plans to unveil some of the changes coming for the area--including a crosswalk and pedestrian signals.

On Steele Creek Road, Rollon Washington and Bob Stiles are pushing a petition to add similar improvements after a man was hit and killed there in September 2012.

"Every time they've tried to do something, they've done it wrong," Stile said.

And there's Darlene Ardrey, who lost her daughter Kaylah two years ago when she was crossing a bridge on Tuckaseegee Road on her way to school. Just a few days ago she saw other students doing the same thing.

"(They were) trying to get from one side of the bridge to the other and almost got hit, just like Kaylah," she said.