The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 1st

Car Strikes UNC Student Near Bell Tower

Sophomore Julia Blackburn was on the way to her 9:30 a.m. class when a 1997 Jeep driven by Chapel Hill resident Joel Kilby ran into her, said Maj. Jeff McCracken, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety.

This is the second accident to involve a pedestrian or cyclist colliding with a vehicle since the DPS instituted a traffic safety awareness campaign two weeks ago.

McCracken said Blackburn was within one or two feet of the crosswalk, giving her the right of way crossing the road.

"I left a little early because I wanted to get my cheese danish," Blackburn said. "It was a little before 9 a.m."

McCracken said Kilby apparently saw Blackburn, slammed on his brakes and skidded several feet before striking her.

"He hit me first on my hip and pushed me a bit," Blackburn said. "I don't remember falling, but I ended up on the ground.

"All the people around me were like, `Don't move, don't move!'"

Blackburn said she laid on the pavement for about ten minutes. After emergency workers checked her back, neck and legs, she was allowed to sit up.

Blackburn was taken in an ambulance to Student Health Service, where she was treated for minor cuts and bruises, McCracken said. He estimated the car was going about 10 miles per hour at the time of the accident.

Blackburn said her left thigh, right ankle, left hand and left elbow were scratched, and her finger was numb.

But despite her injuries, Blackburn said she realizes she was lucky the accident wasn't worse.

"(Kilby) was real nice about it, except for the actual incident," she said.

McCracken said the accident illustrated how important it is to be careful when crossing a busy street.

"Always use the crosswalks -- but don't let that give you a false sense of security," he said.

Blackburn said normally she is more careful than she was Thursday morning.

"I guess my mind was somewhere else," she said.

McCracken recommended that pedestrians try to make eye contact with drivers so they know drivers see them.

On Aug. 31, John Farley, a Chapel Hill resident, was thrown from his bicycle after colliding with a vehicle just off Raleigh Road. Farley suffered minor injuries.

Officer Ben Kotin, one of three officers who oversee DPS' awareness campaign, said traditionally the first couple months of the new school year have more accidents than later months.

"I would say with this accident that happened this morning, it could be (people) just not paying attention," Kotin said. "It's a responsibility for both the pedestrians and the drivers."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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