INDIANAPOLIS — An empty school desk and chair are now sitting outside of George W. Julian School at the corner of Washington St. and Ritter Ave. The desk and chair are surrounded by flowers, stuffed animals and notes in memory of seven-year-old Hannah Crutchfield.
Hannah was killed after being hit by a car walking home from school Tuesday afternoon. According to an IMPD spokesperson, Hannah’s mother and the crossing guard on duty were also hit. Both were taken to local hospitals in critical condition.
Parents, neighbors and people who just wanted to pay their respects came by the memorial on Wednesday.
Laverne Coleman and her son were two of those people. Coleman’s son goes to George W. Julian School and walks to and from school every day.
“It could have easily been us walking home from school,” Coleman said.
Coleman said the intersection where the crash happened is a dangerous one.
“A lot of times those lights flash and people just zoom past the school,” she said.
Diana Armstrong is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She brought a school desk and chair to the memorial. She said it represents Hannah’s now empty desk at school. Armstrong said drivers need to slow down.
“No other lives should be lost, no other families should be grieving, no other students should be missing someone in their classroom,” Armstrong said.
Jason Hunt lives near the intersection of Washington and Ritter, he said he hates to say it, but he’s not surprised about what happened.
“I see how people drive through here,” Hunt said. “It’s a drag race.”
Hunt said he’s seen this nearly happen before.
“I have seen mothers grab their children for dear life and narrowly escape what happened yesterday,” he said.
Hunt wants to see something done to make this intersection safer and make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“I don’t know if it’s speed bumps, I don’t know if foot patrol, I don’t know what needs to happen, but this is not an isolated incident,” Hunt said.
Jason Larrison is the City County Councilor representing this district, he said he hears what people are saying and he’s working to see what else can be done to make this intersection safer.
“We certainly need to have additional traffic enforcement out there and we’re working on trying to get more officers out there, there is just a high demand for the officers that we have,” Larrison said.
Larrison said it is challenging because there are already so many things at the Washington and Ritter intersection to make crossing the street safer.
“It already has a stoplight, it has a crosswalk, it has school signs, school speed limit signs with yellow flashing lights, both directions on Washington Street,” Larrison said. “IPS had a crossing guard there. All the indicators are there that this is an important intersection to take caution and be careful.”
He said drivers also need to be more careful and cautious on the road.
“The way that they drive, the way that they choose to drive impacts so many more people than just themselves,” he said.
Wednesday night there is a vigil planned to remember seven-year-old Hannah Crutchfield and pray for her mother and the crossing guard also hurt in the accident.
The George Julian School PTSA has set up a PayPal where people can donate money to help the families involved in this accident.