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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnellian involved in traffic accident at 6th and East street

This past Friday, Nov. 15 at approximately 6:05 a.m., a pick-up truck at the intersection of 6th Avenue and East Street hit an 18-year-old College student, unnamed for privacy reasons. The student sustained serious injuries and was taken to the Grinnell Regional Medical Center, but later airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for further treatment.

“[The] student is recovering in Iowa City with the student’s mother by their side. Staff from the Division of Student Affairs are in daily contact (both in person and over the phone) with the student and mother to provide support and assistance,” said Travis Greene, Dean of Students, in an email to the S&B.

According to a statement released by the Grinnell Police Department, the student was jogging southbound on East Street while the truck was driving eastbound on Sixth Avenue. The driver, Michael Van Tomme of Brooklyn, Iowa, and an eyewitness claim that the student did not stop at the intersection and continued jogging into the path of the oncoming vehicle. After a preliminary investigation into the accident, it was stated that the accident was unavoidable by the driver and it is not predicted that criminal charges will be filed.

This accident brings a special relevance to two of the student initiatives that were passed this semester concerning pedestrian traffic safety, one calling for safety signs at the crossing over 10th Avenue to the Bear (a crossing with much traffic, both pedestrians and vehicles) and the other rallying support for the town to install a flashing beacon at the intersection of 6th Avenue and High Street (an intersection with minimal visibility of pedestrians for drivers, just a block from where the accident occurred).

“The initiative is to raise support and show the city that students are concerned for the safety of pedestrians at that crossing,” said Elaine Fang ’15, STIFund Committee Chair. “[However,] this initiative entails working with both the city and the College, and that makes it a little bit difficult.”

According to Steve Briscoe, Director of Security, the SGA Safety Committee passed the 6th Avenue and High Street initiative on to the campus Parking Committee, which reports to Vice President for Student Affairs Houston Dougharty and Vice President for College Services John Kalkbrenner, for their review and comments. If approved, the Parking Committee will then pass the initiative on to Grinnell’s city Public Safety Committee.

It is the hope of the members of these committees and the administration that the steps outlined in these initiatives will help to increase the safety of pedestrians off and around campus.

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