Nfld. & Labrador

Teen struck at crosswalk outside high school says she's 'really lucky' it wasn't worse

Katherine Taylor-Hood, 15, was struck by a car on the crosswalk outside Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John's.

Katherine Taylor-Hood, 15, was headed to class at Holy Heart of Mary when hit by vehicle

Katherine Taylor-Hood, 15, pictured here with her mother Vicky Taylor-Hood, was struck by a vehicle on the crosswalk outside Holy Heart of Mary High School. (Ted Blades/CBC)

Katherine Taylor-Hood said her mind went completely blank as soon as she was hit.

"You think absolutely nothing," she said. "I just followed through. I had to let it happen, so I rolled."

There was no time for fear, even. You just had to go with it.- Katherine Taylor-Hood

The 15-year-old says she was on her way to school Thursday morning and in the middle of the crosswalk on Bonaventure Avenue in St. John's, right in front of Holy Heart of Mary High School.

"I look over and see what I thought was a black sedan," she told CBC's On The Go. "And then I see the grill, and I'm flying.

"There was no time for fear, even. You just had to go with it."

Driver called 911

Taylor-Hood said she looked both ways before she crossed and didn't see anything coming.

She was crossing from the Georgestown side of the street — the north side — and the car came up the hill from the west, toward Merrymeeting Road.

The Grade 10 student was struck in the eastbound lane, she said, on the side of the street closest to her school.

Katherine Taylor-Hood goes to Grade 10 at Holy Heart of Mary High School in St. John's. (Ted Blades/CBC)

The impact from the vehicle shoved her forward she said, and she rolled up the middle of the lane, keeping her out of the way of oncoming traffic in the other lane.

The driver of the car, a woman, stopped immediately, she said, and hopped out to check on her and call 911. People who had been walking by helped her get out of the street and sat her down on the curb.

I didn't even scrape my hands, I was so lucky.- Katherine Taylor-Hood

Almost immediately after that, Taylor-Hood said, a police car and an ambulance arrived. She was checked out and sent to the Janeway, just to be safe, she said.

She has bruises and is using crutches, but nothing was broken or cut.

"I didn't even scrape my hands, I was so lucky."

Investigation ongoing

According to her mother, Vicky Taylor-Hood, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating what happened. Witnesses have come forward and police are determining whether charges are warranted.

"Failing to yield at a crosswalk doesn't seem like a complicated one to figure out."

Katherine Taylor-Hood is using crutches after she was hit on this crosswalk, but she doesn't have serious injuries. (Ted Blades/CBC)

Meanwhile, Taylor-Hood said her principal was not so surprised to hear something had happened at that particular crosswalk.

Taylor-Hood said he told her that, although this was the first student he's heard of being hit during his seven years at the school, "he's seen a few very close calls and he agrees that people just go too fast."

Mercifully, Taylor-Hood said she wasn't penalized for any missed work on Thursday.

"I had a chemistry test that day," she said. "It didn't happen."

City council monitoring crosswalk

St. John's city council's transportation lead Debbie Hanlon is aware of the issues at this specific crosswalk. 

"This is a situation that requires immediate attention," she said following the weekly council meeting at city hall on Tuesday. 

Hanlon said city staff has put a camera up to monitor traffic by the crosswalk. The data that the city collects will help council move forward with a plan.

Councillor Debbie Hanlon, standing, said more people need to be vocal about the traffic in St. John's. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Some possibilities could be adding speed bumps, a pedestrian activated crosswalk or reconstruction of the road to make it smaller so traffic is forced to slow down. However, Hanlon said, a decision can't be made until sufficient data has been collected.

"I say it every time in chambers and I'll say it again, people have to slow down," Hanlon said.

"They have to respect crosswalks."

With files from Ted Blades and Jeremy Eaton

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