A white van came to a screeching halt as it collided with Nick Pater while he crossed West Woodruff Avenue. Pater hit the ground, and the driver leapt out of his vehicle.
“Oh [expletive], I killed this kid,” Ivan Aponte, the driver of the vehicle, said of his first thoughts of the incident.
Pater, a second-year in engineering physics, sustained minor injuries from the Sept. 6 accident and was cited by Ohio State police for entering a crosswalk that doesn’t have a signal outside Schoenbaum Hall and into the path of Aponte’s vehicle. The accident was the fifth involving a person struck on West Woodruff Avenue in the past five years. During the same time period, there have been 14 on-campus car accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles.
According to gmap-pedometer.com — a website used to measure distances — the immediate on-campus area of West Woodruff Avenue runs 0.45 miles through North Campus from North High Street to Tuttle Park Place. Along this stretch, approximately 36 percent of all on-campus accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles have occurred.
Neil Avenue and the intersection of Tuttle Park Place and Ives Drive are the next most frequent locations for on-campus accidents. In the past five years, each location had three instances of pedestrians being struck by vehicles. The two combined locations account for about 42 percent of on-campus accidents, while West 12th Avenue accounts for 14.3 percent, with two accidents in the past five years.
Dan Hedman, university spokesperson, said West Woodruff Avenue is particularly dangerous because it has a high volume of cars and pedestrians, runs parallel to Lane Avenue, connects to High Street and is close to the North Residential District.
Hedman said the university advises everyone to share the road responsibly. He advised people to avoid distractions by removing earbuds and looking up from their cellphones.
Hedman added that Share the Road is an educational university initiative to promote traffic safety for all traffic types. The initiative emphasizes that all pedestrians and vehicle operators share the responsibility of safety when traveling on and around campus, and each semester, the university holds an educational event and places signs around campus to promote traffic safety.
Pater said he had his cellphone out and earbuds in when he was hit. Almost two months after being struck by a vehicle, he said he no longer checks his phone when crossing the street.
“It’s made me more mindful,” Pater said.