Four pedestrians hit by vehicles over St. Patrick’s Day weekend

Alexis Pfeifer

Four pedestrians were hit by cars during St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Kent, leaving three victims hospitalized.

Three separate crashes occurred Friday evening and early Saturday and Sunday morning. One crash involved alcohol.

The first crash occurred at 7:51 p.m. Friday at the intersection of East Main Street and South Depeyster Street as Kent State sophomore Amanda Groff was walking through the crosswalk. The car struck Groff in the crosswalk, sending her to the hospital.

Groff is currently being seen by a primary care physician and orthopedic surgeon for her injuries, she said. Groff declined to comment on the incident until legal issues have been resolved.

The Kent State Police report says alcohol was not a factor for the driver, who tested a .000% on a portable breath test that she voluntarily took.

The second incident occurred at 12:37 a.m. Saturday as juniors Marci Herr and Kayla Freriks and friends crossed Water Street when a jeep struck the two students before continuing down the road and hitting a parked car.

Herr and Freriks were accompanied by four other friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday with casual drinks. Herr said the group was traveling to Bar 145 via a crosswalk when they saw the vehicle approaching and continued to quickly walk across the street. When the vehicle approached, Herr confirmed that the group heard a rev of an engine before the jeep struck them.

Herr said her leg got clipped by the vehicle when she reached the sidewalk.

Freriks said all she could remember was being hit by a jeep on her right side.

“After that, all I know is that I was on the ground,” Freriks said. “I stayed conscious, but my right leg was killing me.”

Freriks, who had been in the crosswalk at the time of impact, was flipped into the air by the vehicle’s front right bumper, a witness stated in the police report.

Herr said police officers got to the scene in less than a minute because “they heard her get hit.”

Kent Police Lieutenant Jim Prusha said alcohol had been a factor in this crash. The driver tested well above the .08 legal limit, Prusha said, but he could not recall the blood alcohol level of the driver. The driver was charged with driving under the influence and hitting a pedestrian, Prusha said, though additional charges could come in the future from the prosecutor’s office, such as vehicular assault.

Herr said she got a few minor bruises, while Freriks said the extent of her injuries are still being reviewed. Freriks was hospitalized and has not been able to walk without the help of crutches since the incident.

The third crash occurred during the early morning hours Sunday on North Lincoln Street.

The incident happened when a cab driver exited his vehicle to chase a customer who had not paid the cab fare. Upon leaving the vehicle, the driver was struck by another car that continued driving and did not stop, Prusha said.

Prusha was not sure of the extent of the cab driver’s injuries.

Prusha said the official report has not been completed as the department is still looking for the driver of the hit and run incident. He added that witnesses possibly identified the car as a white Toyota Celica, though the model could have been different.

Prusha urges anyone with information on this incident to call Kent Police.

Contact Alexis Pfeifer at [email protected].