Safety changes coming to road where UNCC graduate student was hit, killed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A University of North Carolina at Charlotte graduate student is dead after being hit by a van in University City late Friday night, police said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating the crash that happened just before midnight Friday on University City Boulevard near Mallard Creek Church Road.

Officials said the van was traveling northeast in the right lane when it struck 24-year-old Vivek Pathipati, who was either walking or standing in the right lane near the white dashed divider lines.

Pathipati was a graduate student at the UNCC.

Officials said he was not near a crosswalk or intersection, and the driver was not found to be impaired or speeding.

The driver was not hurt. Pathipati was pronounced dead at the scene by MEDIC.

"It's really sad, unfortunately any time we lose a member of the UNC Charlotte student body, especially here because it's definitely preventable," said student Jacob Baum.

Baum said many students walk or bike to class -- sometimes crossing four lanes of traffic.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, officials have a plan to make the area safer.

"Over 50 students or residents in the area have brought concerns to local government through public forums," Baum said.

Channel 9 learned the public's concerns may be addressed soon because the NCDOT wants to improve a portion of University City Boulevard between John Kirk Drive and Interstate 485.

With the new changes, drivers wouldn't be able to turn left in certain areas because of concrete medians.

"I really think that plan could have prevented accidents like this from happening," Baum said.

NCDOT officials held a public meeting at UNCC about the project in April and hope to start construction in 2023.

They said the new design will help reduce crashes by 46 percent and help drivers save time on their commute.

This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.