Six months after the tragic accident that killed one UM student and injured another when they were crossing a U.S.1 intersection, the driver of the car that hit two students was sentenced.
On Sept. 14, Kristin Arbuckle, 25, was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and issued a $30 fine. In addition, her license was suspended, and she was ordered to pay $43.50 in court costs. She was also ordered to donate $250 to the Ashley Kelly Memorial Fund.
Arbuckle hit Kelly and Andrea Cinque, both freshmen at the time, on April 11 with her Ford Explorer when she ran a red light at the Mariposa Court and U.S. 1 intersection. Cinque suffered minor injuries; Kelly died at the hospital early the next morning. At the time, Arbuckle was issued a ticket for having run a red light.
Students rose to action after the accident and pushed for the construction of a pedestrian overpass. As of now, the overpass is expected to be completed in 2009.
According to Sarah N. Artecona, assistant vice president for media and community relations, the overpass would be funded by the county, state and federal governments, which extends the approval process of the project but makes it shorter than if a private benefactor, like UM, were involved.
“We are going to continue our efforts towards creating a pedestrian walkway,” Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, said. “We are vigilantly continuing to press ahead. Already we were successful putting the fence up [along US.1 and Mariposa court intersection], and the shuttle is in operation as well.”
In addition to working on the overpass, the University has taken short-term steps to improve pedestrian safety. According to Artecona, videos including pedestrian safety issues are running in the Hurry ‘Cane shuttles, and new maps have been distributed throughout campus identifying crosswalks. The county has put up a fence by the Metrorail to discourage jaywalking; this fence is not new but has been rebuilt after jaywalkers pulled it apart over the years.
Kelly’s family created the Ashley Kelly Memorial Fund through the Community Foundation of Collier County in memory of Kelly.
Patricia Mazzei contributed to this article.
Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.