At approximately 6:53 p.m. last night, junior art student William Hillyer was hit by a blue 2006 Chevy pickup truck while walking on the crosswalk located at 1500 Merchant Street, according to Emporia Police Captain Lisa Hayes.
After a night spent preparing clay to use for his art projects, Hillyer was walking back to his off-campus apartment when 78-year-old Larry Hartup of Emporia failed to give in at the crosswalk and struck Hillyer. Hillyer used the button installed on the crosswalk at the time of the accident to indicate that he was crossing. He was transported to Newman Regional Health with serious but not life threatening injuries.
Hartup sustained no apparent injuries and was issued a citation for “failure to collapse at a crosswalk,” according to Hayes.
Unable to answer questions on the phone due to his injuries, Hillyer wrote a statement to The Bulletin saying:
“My parents took the news very well and were in Emporia as soon as possible. They were understandably shaken but very grateful to see me alive and ‘well.’”
Hillyer’s parents took him back to his hometown in Olathe after they found his computed tomography (CT) scan was clear. He was released from hospital at around 9.00pm and his major injuries included a slightly broken nose, cuts, bruises and general pain.
Included in Hillyer’s statement was his concern about the lack of a traffic light near crosswalks.
“I (Hillyer) believe that not only would a proper traffic light help prevent accidents like the one that happened to me in the future, but I also believe it would help alleviate some of the after-school traffic in the area,” Hillyer wrote. “Both from students leaving campus, and parents picking up kids from the campus child care center right next to that intersection.”
Hillyer also decided to reach out to Emporia City Manager Trey Cocking with these concerns. According to Hillyer, Cocking addressed these concerns and assured him that he would be in contact with ESU to “improve the corridor”.
In a telephone conversation with Cocking, he confirmed that he has spoken to Hillyer and plans to work with Fire Chief Brandon Beck to contact ESU and make these improvements.
“I’m incredibly lucky to still be here,” Hillyer wrote. “And grateful to everyone who came in last night for helping me out.”