Family of boy killed while rollerblading campaigns for sidewalksby Shawn Foucher (Oct. 17, 2009)PERKINS TWP.
The family of a Perkins teen who was fatally struck by a car while rollerblading is asking township and county planners to improve safety on local roads.
Register photo/LUKE WARK : A truck drives by a roadside memorial for Michael Gisondi on the side of Strub Road on Tuesday at the site where he was struck by a vehicle while rollerblading late Monday. Gisondi passed away early Tuesday afternoon.
Allen Pollack fought back tears as he walked to his car Tuesday night following a Perkins trustees meeting.
"I'm 17," Pollack said as he swallowed a lump in his throat, tears welling in his eyes. "That was my only brother."
Pollack's brother, Michael Gisondi, 13, was struck by a car on the night of Sept. 28 while rollerblading with friends on Strub Road, just east of Campbell Street.
He died the following day.
Pollack was joined by his mother, Tammy Buckley, and stepfather, Darrin Stanley, as they made an impassioned plea to township trustees.
Their request: Install sidewalks and street lighting on Campbell Street and Strub Road, and reduce the speed limits on both roads.
Stanley, the boy's stepfather, told trustees he didn't know Michael was rollerblading in the dark on Strub Road, and he never would have permitted it.
There are no sidewalks on Campbell Street or Strub Road, and there's scarcely enough lighting for motorists to see pedestrians or bicyclists.
The spot where Michael was struck is about half a mile from Perkins High School, and it's a few hundred yards from his family's Campbell Street home.
"I'd like to see a bike path or something out there," Buckley said. "I see high schoolers jogging right there on Campbell Street. It's used by a lot of young people, so something really does have to be done out there."
The speed limit on both roads is 45 mph, though the short stretch of Campbell Street where Perkins High School sits is 20 mph during school hours.
Perkins trustees agreed that something needs to be done. They said Tuesday they're sending a letter to Erie County engineer Jack Farschman, requesting a traffic study on the Campbell-Strub area.
"I think after the tragedy that happened to you folks ... we really have to start working on it," township trustee Jeff Ferrell said to Michael's family.
Trustee Bill Dwelle said the township doesn't have the authority to change the speed limit on its roads, but it can request a traffic study to initiate change.
Farschman said Wednesday he hadn't heard from trustees or Michael's family, but added it wouldn't take long to conduct a traffic study.
The data could be collected inside of a week and submitted to the Ohio Department of Transportation, which would have the final say on the roads' speed limits.
The installation of sidewalks could prove a much bigger battle, however, when it comes to funding.
"They'd have to take up a petition of the property owners up and down through there," Farschman said. "Ultimately, the property owners would all be assessed for it."
Farschman said that could be difficult in this economic climate, but he'd be more than willing to do his part on a traffic study.
That may be a kernel of hope for Michael's family, looking to turn a tragic accident into a catalyst for positive change.
"We're not blaming anybody," Buckley said. "Something needs to be done for other parents with children."
Sandusky Newspapers, Inc: Family of boy killed while rollerblading campaigns for sidewalks
12 year old killed in rollerblading accidentby Kimberly King (Nov. 4, 2009)12-year-old Helaina Hawkins was accidentally struck and killed on 10th street just off Country Club Road at 6:15pm Tuesday. Hawkins' friends say she was an "A" student at Chapel Hill Junior High.
After playing with four friends Helaina headed home with another girlfriend on roller blades just after dark.
"Helaina was the second to go on the skates. She was crossing the street and was halfway there and the car hit her," said Stone Tijerina, 12.
Helaina had just been talking with Stone and several other friends when she and her girlfriend decided it was time to go home.
60-year-old Clarence Waters of Waterloo, Indiana accidentally hit Helaina as she crossed 10th street. Police say there's no indication Waters was impaired or driving at a high rate of speed. Neighbors say the street is poorly lit. The impact on the right of the front windshield is proof Helaina had almost made it to the north side of the street.
"She joined everything, book club, math challenges, she was a very sweet girl," said one neighbor.
"She always kept to herself never said anything bad and we were about the only people she ever really knew," said Stone.
"A lot kids play in the front of the apartment complex," said Kenyadda Griffin who lives in the complex.
"She was a smart kid and a good kid," said Stone. "The only thing I could ever say I knew about her is she was happy all the time."
WXIN-TV, Indianapolis: 12 year old killed in rollerblading accident
Trust fund, memorial set up for 12-year-old killed by carby Steve Jefferson (Nov. 5, 2009)Update: A trust has been set up at Firfth Third Bank on Tenth Street in Helaina Hawkins' name in order to help pay for funeral expenses.
Also, there will be a memorial Friday, November 6th, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Chapel Rock Church.
Indianapolis - A grieving mother and father are talking about losing their 12-year-old daughter in a tragic accident. A car hit and killed the young girl Tuesday night on West 10th Street.
Nicole Hawkins hugged her daughter tight in their front yard, comforting her in the loss of her 12-year-old sister. Helaina Hawkins died after getting struck by a car.
"As sad and as sorry as it is, it was an accident. We need to celebrate her life more than anything," said Hawkins.
It happened as Helaina and her friends roller skated on West 10th Street Tuesday evening around six o'clock. When they crossed the street, they crossed into the path of a driver who didn't see them. He explained what happened to an emergency dispatcher.
"I was going westbound on 10th Street. This girl must have run across the road in front of me and I hit her," the driver said.
The driver told police he was going about 35 to 40 mph. The speed limit on that stretch of 10th Street is 40 mph. A driver going the opposite direction says he saw the kids dart into traffic.
"I think they kind of forgot that it was going to get dark and maybe they were trying to hurry home, we don't know," said Rodger Hawkins.
Helaina, a seventh grader, just celebrated her 12th birthday. Her parents shared her artwork from her sixth grade year at Chapel Glen.
"She was a good student and a good friend and a lot of people enjoyed her company," said her mother.
"It was my daughter and I love her like nothing else," said Rodger Hawkins.
As the grieving parents try to come up with money to pay for their 12-year-old's funeral, they urge other parents to take advantage of time with their children.
"Hug your kid everyday and tell them you love them," said Rodger Hawkins.
Helaina's parents hope to finalize plans at Conkle Funeral Home in Speedway, where her family and friends can make donations.
Police agree the 12-year-old's death is a tragic accident and have no plans to seek charges against the driver.
Eyewitness News: Trust fund, memorial set up for 12-year-old killed by car
Inline Skating Notebook: Skater dies in Tampa Florida (Feb. 10, 2006)
Rollerblading accident claims lifeBy Karen Daily (May 10, 2010)A 21-year-old North Augusta woman who graduated Friday from Clemson died Sunday from a head injury she received while rollerblading on campus at the Upstate university.
Authorities say Samantha Cawthorne of Georgia Avenue struck a metal guardrail while rollerblading alone in the South Carolina Botanical Garden at the university.
Cawthorne was not wearing a helmet when she was injured about 2:30 p.m. She was unconscious when she was rushed to a local hospital and died later that night, the Pickens County coroner said.
A 2006 International Baccalaureate graduate of North Augusta High School and a 2010 magna cum laude graduate of Clemson University with a degree in physics, she was a Dixon Fellow, a graduate of Calhoun Honors College, president of the Society of Physics Students and a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
Clemson University published an obituary in which her father, John Cawthorne, was quoted as saying, "Samantha Erin treasured her friends and experiences while at Clemson University."
Her family asks that you keep her memory in your hearts, as they will.
"Not only is this a huge loss to her family - I can't imagine what they're going through right now - but it is a huge loss to America," said physics department Chairman Peter Barnes. She was going to work for the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which rarely hires bachelor's degree graduates, he stated in the Clemson University obituary.
"She had an inner beauty; you just liked her as soon as you met her," Barnes said.
Ricki Shine, the associate director of Calhoun Honors College, was also interviewed for the Clemson article.
"She was curious about the world, enthusiastic about learning and a very, very kind young woman," Shine said. "She had enormous potential, and it's a cruel twist of fate that her life should end so abruptly and so soon after graduation. She will be sorely missed."
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to disaster relief in Haiti through the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, 1115 Marion St., Columbia, SC 29201. Mark checks Rescue, Cange, Haiti.
She was a native of Maryland, having lived in North Augusta for the past 10 years, and a member of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church.
She was the daughter of John and Janine Cawthorne. She is survived by a brother, Zachary William Cawthorne, and a sister, Rebecca Anne Cawthorne, all of North Augusta.
Funeral services for Cawthorne will be conducted Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, North Augusta.
The family will receive friends at Posey Funeral Home, 1307 Georgia Ave., North Augusta, on Wednesday evening from 6 until 8 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Aiken Standard: Rollerblading accident claims life