McNeese student hit by car dies

October 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm

published Oct. 7, 2010
19-year-old remembered as ‘a sweetheart’ by former principal

A McNeese State University freshman who was critically injured in an auto-pedestrian accident on Monday died Wednesday morning, hospital officials said.

Ashlea Richard, 19, of Welsh, was pronounced dead just before 10 a.m. at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, according to hospital spokeswoman Jamie Gaines.

Richard’s family said she was an organ donor.

Richard had graduated from Welsh High School in May.

Welsh High Principal Pat Deshotel described her as someone who “always had a smile on her face and a kind word for everybody.”

“She was a sweetheart. That’s the best word I can use to describe her,” Deshotel said.

The accident and Richard’s death have reignited a debate about the safety of crosswalks on and around the campus and students who jaywalk instead of using them.

Richard was struck trying to cross McNeese Street, from the freshman parking lot to the main campus.

McNeese police on Wednesday issued jaywalking citations on the streets around campus, and more students were seen walking to intersections to use crosswalks instead of trying to cross streets elsewhere.

Students have suggested the use of more signs and lighting at crosswalks; construction of a pedestrian overpass at McNeese and Common; and the building of a parking garage, which university President Philip Williams said isn’t feasible in the near future because of funding issues.

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