Friday night at approximately 7:20 p.m. a van driving eastbound on Rte.2 hit a Williams student crossing the street between East and Griffin Hall.
The vehicle was driving over the crest of the hill near Lawrence Hall going east bound when it hit Alison Davies ’99. According to Security Officer John Franz, she was crossing the street from North to South at the crosswalk and was just about at the sidewalk when she was hit.
“The girl never saw the car and the driver of the car never saw her,” Franz said. “Another car was coming over the hill in the opposite direction with headlights shining and it was dark since the lighting is not very good along Rte. 2 so it was one of those situations that every one of us drivers encounters sometime.” According to Franz, Davies was also wearing dark clothes which made it difficult for the driver to see her.
According to Franz, the driver exited the vehicle and assisted Davies. “The driver was pretty much in shock,” Franz said. “She knew she’d struck something and that it was someone but she hadn’t seen the girl in the street.”
Fortunately, Davies was wearing a heavy jacket which Franz said helped with the impact. Franz said she was probably thrown about 10 -12 feet.
Mac Harman ’98, who was in the middle of setting up for Psalm 96 worship in Griffin 3, arrived at the scene once Security and the ambulance were there. He said the driver of the van was also on site.
“When I arrived on the scene, [Davies] had been knocked a good 15 feet east of the sidewalk. From what I could see in the dim light, there wasn’t much blood or any out-of-place bones. All I could do was pray that she was all right internally,” he said.
Due to the laceration on her head, Davies was taken to Berkshire Medical trauma room by an ambulance. The laceration caused concern that Davies would need neurological expertise, which Berkshire Medical could offer. She was diagnosed with a small concussion but no other internal injuries. She suffered many bruises but no broken bones.
After being discharged from the hospital Sunday, Davies will be staying at the Williams Health Center until she is better able to move freely. Unfortunately, Davies’ family lives in California so she will not be with them for Thanksgiving.
The accident raises questions about the visibility of crosswalks on Rte. 2 and the potential danger in which students might be placed at night.
“After witnessing this accident, it seems that the College or the town should consider augmenting the lighting at this particular crosswalk or removing some of the bushes that block the view on this corner,” Harman, who is also College Council co-president, said.
“It’s a bad situation and I think probably some light placed a little more directly on the sidewalk may help,” Franz said. “But to eliminate any possibilities of accidents, a raised walk over the street or a subway underground would have to be implemented to keep students out of the street.”
“It is also important to keep reminding people that pedestrians shouldn’t cross the street until vehicles have seen them and stopped, and vehicles need to stop,” Franz added. “Everyone needs to be aware it is a real hazardous area.”
Many students do not think of the crosswalks as potentially dangerous. “I never thought of the crosswalks as being dangerous or a problem. I guess I just take it for granted that the cars are going to stop,” Deborah Frisone ’00 said.
Students also said more safety precautions need to be taken, both on the part of the students and the college, such as the implementation of lights along Rte. 2 to help make drivers more aware of the need to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, as well as educating students about taking more precautions themselves.
“I think on one part the students should take more caution and not assume cars see them unless the car stops, and on the other hand, I don’t think it would hurt to have a blinking yellow light so that drivers that don’t know to stop will,” Meg Randall ’99 said.
John Anderson ’00 said, “I think when they issue everyone a CUPPS cup they should give them an orange vest too.”
Meg Cooley ’01, who witnessed the accident once the ambulances had arrived, said, “Cars don’t stop much in the day much less at night and I don’t know if it’s the conditions or whether they don’t see us but it’s definitely not safe.”
“I think there definitely should be more lights,” Davis Teichgraeber ’99 said. “Most students cross a major highway three to four times a day so it’s dangerous in itself. I guess as far as the whole accident goes, I’m surprised it’s the first time I’ve heard of a student being hit because many motorists speed straight through the crosswalk.”