Student hit by teacher dies

Jorge Chavarria

December 9, 2010 4:29:50 PM PST
A student who was hit by a car driven by a teacher in front of Fuquay-Varina High School Wednesday has died.

Eighteen-year-old Jorge Chavarria was struck crossing North Broad Street just after 7 a.m.

Police identified the driver as 51-year-old Robert Ken Lee of Raleigh. Lee is an instructor at Fuquay-Varina High, who specializes in helping disadvantaged students.

Grief counselors arrived at Fuquay-Varina High School after the news broke that Chavarria died.

Students are coping with the loss, but Lee is said to be devastated. Police have yet to file charges, saying they're still interviewing eyewitnesses.

The day after the fatal accident, students were still crossing Highway 55 where Chavarria was hit.

"Now that I look at it I think, yes, it's dangerous because there's not a crosswalk there and since its right in front of the school there are going to be students going back and forth," Chavarria's friend Matt Bastin said.

There is a marked crosswalk nearby, but the North Carolina Department of Transportation has not installed another crosswalk where the accident happened.

"That area is relatively tricky, you have some lane drops, it goes from five lanes to three lanes," NC DOT Battle Whitley said.

The other problem according to NCDOT is that drivers also have to navigate a transition lane, allowing them to turn into the high school.

"So you have vehicles that have to merge and weave and to add another obstacle so to speak in that it's something more drivers have to pay attention to it's just not the safest location for a crosswalk," Whitley said.

Whether the fatal pedestrian vehicle collision could've been prevented is unclear.

Traffic engineers say they will survey that stretch of road and possibly make safety recommendations.

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