Pendleton residents question safety of intersection after semi hits teen

PENDLETON, Ind. — A teenager survived with minor injuries after being hit by a semi in Pendleton.

Monday afternoon after school dismissed, a 14-year-old was trying to cross State Road 67. Police say the teenager wasn’t in a crosswalk when a semi slammed on the brakes, but still ended up hitting him. The teen skidded 15 feet. Luckily, the only injuries he sustained were some pain and road rash.

“It’s sad that a lot of time things don’t get addressed properly until something tragic happens. I think that family, that child is so fortunate and blessed to be safe,” said Annika Barns, a Pendleton parent.

From the corner of State Road 67 and State Road 38, you can see a high school and a middle school. Students are constantly walking back and forth, which is exactly why some parents want extra safety measures in place.

“I think you can always improve on safety anywhere,” said Janette Isbell, with Smith Family Farms Market.

“(It) just shouldn’t be up for debate we need to figure out a way to do that,” said Barns.

Currently there are already painted crosswalks and electronic signals. The Pendleton police chief feels the intersection isn’t dangerous.

“We live in a world of everybody wants a sign. I don’t know how many more signs you can put in that area to say students in the area or watch for vehicles,” said Pendleton Police Chief Marc Farrer.

Over the years, citizens have suggested building a sky bridge, a tunnel or even adding an officer at the corner. Chief Farrer says just following the rules of the road would make a difference.

“We just need to use the crosswalk,” said Chief Farrer.

The highways are state owned, so it would be up to INDOT to make and pay for any changes.

“There’s a reason that young teenagers can’t make all of the best decisions and make decisions for themselves and as adults and as the people who are here to protect them, maybe it’s time that we step in,” said Barns.

Parents and police want other students to learn from the teen’s close call.

“It’s an amazing thing to have a story of being struck by a semi and surviving. I’m so glad he did and I hope he tells his friends not to cross the road,” said Chief Farrer.

The name of the injured 14-year-old has not yet been officially released. Police did say he was taken to the hospital and went home the same day.

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