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Student's Injuries Prompt Drive For Safer School Crossing Zones

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APEX, N.C. — The condition of a Cary student struck by a car Monday while walking to school was downgraded Tuesday from serious to critical.

Andrew Shurney stepped onto Carpenter-Upchurch Road near Green Hope High School and was struck by a car driven by 78-year-old Thomas Hand, authorities said. Shurney was airlifted to Duke University Hospital after the accident.

The incident brought back painful memories for Susan Castlebury, whose son was hit and critically injured while crossing U.S. Highway 64 near Apex High School a year ago.

Daniel Castlebury, now 17, said he doesn't remember anything about the vehicle that hit him on Sept. 26, 2005. But he does remember the painful recovery from his injuries.

"I was in the hospital for 23 days. Four of them, I was unconscious," he said. "It's only by God that I survived."

Since the accident, Susan Castlebury has been fighting to make roadways around schools safer. She has lobbied for a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 64.

Many Apex High students have to park off campus and cross the highway daily to get to school. Daniel Castlebury was in a crosswalk when he was hit.

"It's a dangerous intersection, especially for our kids to come through there," Susan Castlebury said.

Some have said speed is a factor in both accidents. The posted speed limit on U.S. 64 near Apex High is 55 mph, while the speed limit near Green Hope High is 45 mph.

"To arbitrarily to say we're going to reduce it to 25, 35 (mph) is premature right now," said Jon Nance, an engineer with the state Department of Transportation.

The DOT will survey the area near Green Hope High following Monday's accident, Nance said. There isn't a crosswalk at the site.

State engineers studied the U.S. 64 intersection in Apex last year and eventually widened the crosswalk. But the DOT decided against the pedestrian bridge.

"I think one of the big struggles was the cost of it," Nance said. "There was not a funding source identified for that. A good pedestrian bridge, you're talking about $1 million."

Charges weren't filed against the driver that hit Castlebury.

Cary police are still investigating Monday's accident, and no charges have yet been filed in that case.


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