A broken-hearted Salem mother is calling for safety improvements after her young daughter was hit and killed while crossing a busy street on Monday.
Elizabeth Pruden said her entire family was devastated by the loss of her 14-year-old daughter Shatamera, who was with her little sister heading to the park when the pair went to cross the street.
While the younger sister made it across safely and three lanes of traffic had stopped, the 14-year-old was hit by an SUV in that last lane.
“I got here and I stopped my car right there and I just ran up here,” Pruden said. “She was laying in the road. I could tell she wasn’t breathing. You could, you could tell that life had left her.”
There is a growing memorial where Shatamera died on Commercial Street Southeast near Royvonne Avenue. Her mother was there Thursday placing flowers in the ground and spending time with her daughter’s friends.
Shatamera just finished her eighth-grade year at Leslie Middle School, where she was involved in leadership, peer mentoring, volleyball and volunteered with the NAACP.
Pruden said her daughter was full of life and now hopes her death isn’t for nothing. She desperately wants to see a crosswalk go in on that busy stretch of road.
There are shopping centers on either side of the road, and a big apartment complex, a bus stop and a park are all nearby. The nearest crosswalk in either direction, though, is several blocks away.
As she works to advocate for a safe crossing, Pruden also wanted to remind everyone to slow down and pay attention behind the wheel.
“As adults, we have so much going on, but it’s kids,” she said. “What is three seconds of our day to stop for a child to cross the road, whether it’s in a crosswalk or not. It’s a child, it’s a life.”
Salem police said the 31-year-old driver who hit Shatamera stayed at the scene and is cooperating. The investigation is still underway, but no arrests or citations have been made.
Shatamera’s memorial service is set for July 15 at 2:00 p.m. at Leslie Middle School and her mother says everyone is welcome to attend.
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