Student hit by car while crossing Isaacs

Josh Goodman

The crosswalk between Tau Kappa Epsilon and Jewett Hall where a student was hit by a car. Credit: Charlie Li.

A Whitman student was hit by a sport utility vehicle while using the pedestrian crosswalk on Isaacs Ave. shortly before 11 a.m. on Monday, April 16.

The student, senior Stephen Stradley, was taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries following the incident. Dean of Students Chuck Cleveland said that a full recovery was expected.

“We have no indication of the extent of his injuries at this point, [but] all indications are that he will recover,” he said. “He’s going to be banged up, obviously, but he will recover.”

According to Walla Walla Police Officer Scott Knutson, who responded at the scene, James Michaelson was driving a 2005 Chevy Tahoe and had stopped for another student to cross. Michaelson was starting to pull forward when he hit the Whitman student, who was knocked to the ground by the car’s mirror.

Junior Jordan Benjamin, a Wilderness EMT, was driving to class when he saw the scene and pulled over.

“It’s a trauma patient, [so] the initial concerns are airway, breathing, circulation, spinal disability and signs of shock,” he said, noting that HIPAA regulations required he not provide specific details. “Basically, I’m initially just assessing for critical threats to life or limb that will require immediate intervention at the scene, looking over the body and rendering any necessary treatment based on the signs and symptoms presented.”

Benjamin said he helped at the scene for three to five minutes before an ambulance arrived. Because he could hear the ambulances coming, he focused on stabilizing and immobilizing the spine and performing elements of a rapid trauma assessment rather than launching into a full-fledged trauma assessment. Benjamin said that residents of the Tau Kappa Epsilon house helped as well, bringing blankets outside to keep the student warm.

Student-car collisions are not common on campus. Associate Director of Security Craig McKinnon said this was the second time that he knew of in his 31 years at Whitman, despite witnessing many close calls.

“I’ve probably seen a handful of students, maybe a dozen, almost get hit on campus,” he said. “I’m just one person out there; think of how many times it has occurred.”

Knutson said that no charges would be filed.

“You’re supposed to yield to someone in a crosswalk, but in this case a student darted out unexpectedly, so that’s why I’m not charging anyone,” he said.

Cleveland said that it is important for students to be alert when using the crosswalk.

“The college worked hard to get that crosswalk, and we’re glad that students use it . . . but still, everyone’s got to be aware of cars because they don’t always see people,” he said.