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String of hit-and-runs strikes campus in January

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A photo of the suspected car that struck the student caught on a surveillance camera. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department

A photo of the suspected car that struck a student Jan. 20. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Police Department

Four hit-and-run accidents occurred on campus during January, two of which involved students being struck by vehicles.

Only five hit-and-runs occurred during the fall 2014 semester, none of which involved any students or pedestrians being hit.

On Jan. 30, a student sustained minor injuries after being struck by an unidentified vehicle while walking in a crosswalk, according to the Department of Public Safety morning reports.

Another hit-and-run occurred ten days prior, sending a graduate student to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“Any incidents involving these types of circumstances are viewed as a serious matter among our department,” said Joseph Secanky, crime prevention officer for DPS.

Secanky said DPS always puts the involved individual first and then makes further decisions involving the individual’s care from there.

“Our department’s priority is to provide individuals with the utmost care by assessing their needs and making decisions to providing care, including initiating advance medical and law enforcement response,” Secanky said.

Due to the recent influx of hit-and-runs involving pedestrians, students are warned to be on alert when walking in and across streets.

Secanky said he urges students to walk defensively and to be ready for unexpected events.

Additionally, he said it is imperative to watch the pedestrian signals, not just the traffic signal, and to only walk when given the all right to proceed.

Yana Rawinski, a freshman in the College of Engineering, said she sees students walk carelessly across the street, unaware of their surroundings.

“I think one of the biggest problems is that students walk when the sign doesn’t say walk and they cant fully see the intersection because it’s blocked by a bus,” Rawinski said.

Awareness of the surrounding area and caution when using cell phones is also a factor.

“People should use the crosswalks and walk when the sign is on and they won’t have as big of a chance getting hit,” said Maleah Brody, a freshman in the College of Engineering.

Rawinski said living in an urban area comes with drivers who tend to be more aware, but there are exceptions.

“People just need to be cautious because a lot of Milwaukee drivers do yield to pedestrians, but there are those select few that keep on going,” Rawinski said.

When it comes to unknown danger areas, Secanky warned that students should be wary even if there does not seem to be an immediate danger present.

“Watch out for parked vehicles,” Secanky said. “Parking lots can be as dangerous as streets.”

“If walking at night, it might be a good idea to make sure you’re wearing some brighter colors,” Rawinski said. “I know whenever I run at night I wear reflectors.”

With the Wisconsin winter kicking in, it  can affect a vehicle’s ability to slow down or stop, especially making quick stops.

“It’s a pretty basic thing, taking you back to kindergarden, to look both ways when crossing the street, but it is extremely important,” Brody said.

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About the Writer
McKenna Oxenden, Executive News Editor

McKenna is a senior from Columbia, Maryland majoring in journalism and minoring in digital media. She is presently the Managing Editor of the Marquette...

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