Local News

Fuquay officials call for pedestrian improvements at schools

Posted June 14, 2011 6:24 p.m. EDT

— Six months after a Fuquay-Varina High School student died after being hit by a car in front of the school, local officials on Tuesday called for changes to improve pedestrian safety at schools.

A committee appointed by Mayor John Byrne recommended installing a crosswalk and sidewalk on N.C. Highway 55 in front of Fuquay-Varina High. The changes would be paid for by the state Department of Transportation.

The committee also asked the DOT to lower the speed limit in front of Fuquay-Varina Elementary School from 35 mph to 25 mph and to repaint the word "school" on the street in front of Lincoln Heights Elementary School.

"The committee has looked at many different options and come up with good short-term safety solutions. The committee is going to continue the search for long-term safety solutions,” Byrne said in a statement.

Jorge Chavarria, 18, was walking to school on Dec. 8 when teacher Robert Ken Lee, 51, of Raleigh, hit him with his car in the 100 block of North Broad Street, police said. Chavarria, a junior at the school, died the next day.

Investigators with the Fuquay-Varina Police Department interviewed witnesses and examined evidence in the case and decided not to charge Lee after consulting with Wake County prosecutors.