CINCINNATI — Increased police presence and crossing guards will be seen around the University of Cincinnati as part of a new pedestrian safety initiative after a freshman was killed in a hit-and-run.
UC President Neville Pinto announced the measures in a statement to university staff and students Monday, just days after 18-year-old Cayden Turner was killed when the driver of an SUV ran a red light and hit her before leaving the scene. Another freshman was also hit and brought to the hospital, but was later released.
Turner is a Moraine native and Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School graduate.
Pinto’s leadership team is working with Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval to take steps in enhancing pedestrian safety on surrounding city streets, the statement says.
“It shows that they really do care about the students,” UC junior Abbi Kidder said. “I really appreciated it. I thought it was going to be another one of those thoughts-and-prayers things.”
Pinto said the university’s immediate goal is to enhance crosswalk visibility around the perimeter of campus. For the next few weeks, police cruisers will be parked with flashing lights at four key intersections during high-traffic hours.
“This is top priority for the university,” UC Chief of Police Elliot Isaac said. “There’s so much going on when it comes to our traffic conditions around our city and what we’re seeing around the university; we want to make sure we’re doing our part.”
Drivers and pedestrians will see those cruisers along Jefferson Avenue, Calhoun Street, Clifton Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive in the morning hours between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m.
The two students were hit at the intersection of Jefferson and University Avenues, which both Isaac and Kidder said is a hotspot for pedestrian-involved crashes.
“I’ve got a friend who got hit at this crosswalk too while she was on her scooter,” Kidder said.
University officials hope the measures will help to slow down traffic and allow pedestrians to cross more safely before a permanent solution is put in place.
Isaac said plans are already in the works to boost CPD patrols in the area as well as the addition of signage to promote pedestrian safety and repainting of some crosswalks.
UC will also be making mental health professionals more accessible to students both on campus and in designated student housing units.
On Monday, the 17-year-old driver suspected in the crash appeared in court. Officials said he had been in trouble with the law prior to the incident and had cut off his ankle monitor before it happened.
Police charged the teen with aggravated vehicular homicide and other felonies. They said the vehicle involved was suspected to be a stolen vehicle. One person inside the vehicle was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Three other people inside the vehicle, including the driver, ran away.
Any witnesses to this crash are asked to call the Cincinnati Police Department’s Traffic Unit at 513-352-2514.
Pinto encouraged anyone on campus impacted by the news to seek out UC’s Counseling and Psychological Services.
The 17-year-old will be back in court Oct. 13 to see if his case will be bound over to adult court.
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