• 'Old soul with a loving heart': Garinger HS student dies after hit by car near school

    By: Erin Edwards

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A 16-year-old Garinger High School student has died days after he was struck by a car at the intersection of Eastway Drive and East Sugar Creek Road, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. 

    The intersection is near Garinger High School.

    Police said Israel Plyler was in the crosswalk when he was struck by a 2015 Acura that was driving in a posted 25 mph school zone.

    Israel Plyler's father, Russell Plyler, said his son was walking to his mother's house after school when he was hit.

    [DOT: Crosswalk in front of Garinger to be named after student killed]

    Witnesses told police the Acura had the green light, but Israel Plyler did not have the right of way.

    The driver stopped after the collision.

    “It’s scary because I didn’t witness it, but there was other kids surrounding him, and they seen it, and I know it probably shook them up,” student Shalanda Myrick said.

    After the crash Thursday afternoon, Israel Plyler was taken to Levine Children's Hospital.

    In a Facebook post, Russel Plyler said, "We believe that he heard us on Thursday evening, as his vitals moved up and down and his fingers moved a little when we talked to him and held him."

    Police said Israel Plyler died Saturday afternoon.

    Russell Plyler described his son as an old soul with a loving heart. He said Israel was only 16 years old, but he skipped junior year and was a senior at Garinger High School.

    In an emotional post about his son, Russell Plyler said, "I hope those of you that knew Israel will remember him for his funny dad jokes, his impeccable style, and his brilliance. I love you my son. You are a light that shined very bright, and the world is darker without you in it."

    Russell Plyler said the family is thankful for everything the hospital did for their son.

    Officials said the driver was not impaired and was not charged.

    This is not the first tragedy Garinger High School has been faced with. Student Brittany Palmer died after she was hit crossing the same busy road on her way to school in 2012.

    Palmer's mother Katrina White told Channel 9 she knows the pain too well.

    "I know exactly how the parents must be feeling right now. It's really horrific. It hurts," White said. "Your world just stops."

    Ever since that day, White said she has fought to make the intersection safer.

    Five years ago, the city made changes including adding a crosswalk, pedestrian countdown signs and improving the sidewalks and roads.

    But, even with all the changes, White said it is now on drivers and those crossing who both need to be more aware.

    "I'm glad they've done as much as they could do," White said. "It's up to us now to watch and be more vigilant."

    A crosswalk and a bronze plaque were dedicated in Palmer's honor two years after her death.

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