Two Plattsburgh State students were hit by a car on the raised crosswalk in front of Harrington Hall the night of Feb. 3, at 8:03 p.m.
A report by University Police said that a vehicle pulled out from the parking lot between MacDonough and Harrington Halls and turned left onto Rugar Street. The report said the driver, who UP Chief Jerry Lottie said was Plattsburgh State student Timothy Everhardt, saw a bicycle on the crosswalk, but not the pedestrians.
“The bicycle is what caught his eyes, and so it distracted him from seeing the other pedestrian,” Lottie said. He also said Everhardt was sober at the time and UP issued Everhardt a vehicle and traffic ticket.
Lottie said the matter is still under investigation, due in part to UP’s new records management system.
“There was a lieutenant and officers on scene, but some of the information that was entered in the report, for whatever reason, didn’t get transferred over to the official copy, so I’m having the individual go back to enter the information back into the report,” he said. “I want more specifics about … what happened, not just the general.”
PSUC student James Gideon said he and his girlfriend were hit that night as they walked across Rugar Street. He said they sustained only minor injuries, but an ambulance was called for his girlfriend. She was released three hours later.
“Neither of us had any broken bones,” Gideon said. “Just cuts and bruises.”
Everhardt did not confirm an interview in time for publication. However, both Lottie and Gideon said Everhardt felt awful about the event.
Gideon said although he doesn’t want to speak for his girlfriend, he does not intend to take legal action against Everhardt.
However, UP have had — and will continue to have — measures for campus safety.
CrosSTEP is an initiative UP started in 2013 to promote pedestrian safety, and a Word document UP designed about the program said that they are “employing a broad approach, aiming to change the behavior of both motorists and pedestrians.” One part of this initiative, STOP-LOOK-WAVE, is stated as a “pledge campaign” that “promotes a basic, yet critical message.”
Through this document, UP encourage pedestrians to always cross at marked crosswalks, well-lit ones if possible, and to obey all pedestrian signals. They encourage making eye contact with drivers and looking before walking past stopped vehicles.
It states that bicyclists are not considered pedestrians and must follow the same rules of the road as automobiles.
“Unless the individual is walking their bike,” the document reads, citing New York state law, “they are considered vehicles and must comply with vehicle and traffic laws.”
Despite crosswalks and other measures enforced by UP, its records indicate a car-pedestrian accident Feb. 2015, a car-bicycle accident Oct. 2015, and a car-motorcycle accident that occurred in 2015.
PSUC student Darius Adolphe said he doesn’t always wait for crosswalks in order to cross the street.
“I’m from Brooklyn, and, you know, the crosswalk’s normally more of a suggestion than the actual rule,” he said. “I also use my own knowledge, and if they’re going fast, I won’t walk in front of them, I’ll kind of just gauge the situation.”
Adolphe advises students to be careful, especially in icy and wet conditions.
“You may have the right-of-way, but it doesn’t do any good if the car can’t stop,” Lottie said, adding that darkness mixed with dark clothing can play a factor.
Lottie said students should exercise caution when stepping out into traffic.
Email Tim Lyman at firstname.lastname@example.org