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Indianapolis police step up patrols in school zones

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Students went back to class Thursday at George Julian School 57, two days after 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield was hit and killed by a car as she was walking home with her mom.

The pain of Crutchfield’s death is real for students at her school, including fifth grader Morel Coleman. “Kind of heartbroke,” Coleman said, standing with his mother.

His mother made it a point to show him the growing memorial outside the school because he often walks. He should “understand how crucial it is when you’re near the street and there’s cars around,” Laverne Coleman, his mother, said.

“Sometimes, I see cars speeding past the blinking lights” in the school’s walk zone, her son said.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has not completed its investigation of the fatal crash.

Police said the girl, along with her mother and a crossing guard, were stuck at North Ritter Avenue and East Washington Street on Tuesday. The three were sent to area hospitals.

Detectives believe that the drivers of two vehicles — who stayed on scene — got into a disturbance just before the crash as they were traveling, eventually resulting in one of the vehicles crashing into a separate vehicle.

This is one of the areas Billy Martin works as a crossing guard. He says what happened earlier this week is few-and-far-between.

“A lot of folks treat these streets, especially around the schools for some reason, like it’s part of Interstate 70. They don’t obey the traffic laws. They’re on their phones,” Martin told News 8.

For years, IMPD has participated in “stop arm violation enforcement,” which includes patrols around school buses and school zones, Lt. Shane Foley told News 8 on Thursday. “In this week in particular, we’ve stepped up enforcement on East District, particularly on East Washington Street but also across the city. Our traffic control unit has been patrolling school zones.”

IMPD wants to remind Hoosiers to slow down in school zones and be aware. Foley said, “What we want people to realize is that if they go through a school zone, there is potential that an IMPD officer is in that same school zone, checking for speed and other traffic violations. So, if somebody is going through a school zone, they should expect that an IMPD officer is there.”

Anyone with information about this incident should contact Detective Eric Snow at the IMPD Crash Investigations Office at 317-327-6549 (voice only) or at Eric.Snow@indy.gov. 

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