Student returns to class after being hit by van

Michael Lewis

A stroll to class along Summit Street turned into a painful accident Tuesday afternoon when Kent State student Jessica Stewart, 23, was hit by a van.

Kent Fire Department took her to Robinson Memorial Hospital where she was treated for a head injury, then released. Stewart’s father, Rob Ullinger of Kent, said Jessica returned to classes today despite being “stiff and sore.”

“She has a nice bump on the head,” Ullinger said. “The sad part about it is the van’s driver had no insurance.”

Stewart, a senior psychology major, was walking in the grass when the accident occurred.

The university maintains miles of sidewalk across the campus. The location of the accident on Summit Street – past the Recreation Center near research buildings – has no sidewalk.

Michael McDonald, director of Campus Environment and Operations, said there are a number of places on campus to put sidewalk. If people feel strongly enough to put sidewalk in, the city and university will consider it.

“You just don’t plop a sidewalk down,” McDonald said. “If there’s a need for it, we’ll put it in.”

University Architect Tom Euclide said there is a need for sidewalk in that area. Last year, Kent State spent $200,000 replacing and repairing campus walkways.

“We are aware of a need there, and we’re searching for funding to accomplish it,” Euclide said.

City engineer Chris Tolnar agreed and said the city is actively working with the university to resolve certain issues concerning sidewalks.

“The city is always looking to extend our sidewalks,” Tolnar said. “We are working in conjunction with the Citizens Advisory Committee to improve traffic congestion on Summit Street, including pedestrian traffic.”

According to Tolnar, Kent is conducting a city-wide traffic signal improvement study. Future development on Kent’s south side stands to gain a considerable increase in daily traffic once construction of new apartments and condominiums are complete.

The committee will meet Feb. 9 at the Kentway Senior Citizens Apartments to list concerns and to come up with solutions for traffic problems on Summit Street and throughout Kent.

Contact safety reporter Michael Lewis at [email protected].