Blind Student Struck by Car on Campus

By: Ashley Grasinger

(SETON HILL, Pa.) – Wyatt Symons was struck by a car walking on the crosswalk from Reeves going towards Boyle. Symons sustained no physical injuries.

“I was probably 6 or 7 steps in, next thing you know I hear another [car] coming on my right. I am like hopefully it will slow down.” Symons is blind and uses a long cane around campus. “I have been trained on how to cross the crosswalk properly,” said Symons.

“I can’t tell if the [car] is more in front of me or behind me but I can
run forward quicker than I can backpedal so I am gonna go with that route and say a prayer,” said Symons.

“The person is being cited,” said Chief of Campus Police Michele Proctor. This will not affect the student’s parking pass on campus. 

Symons states that after the incident “she rolls her window down and [was] like ‘are you okay?’” to which he states he replied with “‘yea I’m fine sorry.’” 

“There is no real charge you know, she really didn’t flee,” said Proctor. “Normally we would say yes, it’s best to stop and call campus police, get your information to them, and then you can proceed because it would have been kind of a non-reportable anyways. With a pedestrian involved, we would advise them to contact us so we can get a report anyway,  because we had to track  her down using the license plate.” 

“I go to class and I am replaying it in my head and I am like wait a second,” said Symons. “I was a good ways into the crosswalk when I got hit, so it’s not like I stepped right out in front of her and she had no time to react at all. She had plenty of time to react.” 

“The student that hit him just had some issues with the sun coming down,” said Proctor. “indicated that they didn’t even really see him.”

Symons had spoken with a witness and campus police on the incident to get a better idea of what had happened from a visual perspective. “That sounds like negligent driving to me,” said Symons. 

“They were very easily able to pull her up on the security cameras,” said Symons. “First off she was speeding. Second, she actually did have time to stop or slow down and she never hit her breaks.”

“We don’t have a speed on how fast the car was going,” said Proctor. “It didn’t appear in the video that she was flying or anything she just didn’t yield to the pedestrian.” 

“I thought the car was going faster than it should have been,” wrote Brittany Ritts, who witnessed the event. “but I turned around to see it right when it happened.”   

“I was walking into Boyle as it happened but from what I remember I saw the car driving before I walked in,” wrote Madison Matovcik who also witnessed the event. “I’d say it was going faster than most, way too fast by Boyle which tends to be a very busy spot. Not so fast that they wouldn’t have had time to stop, they were just not paying attention it seemed.”

“She never even honked on the horn before she hit me,” said Symons. “She totally was not paying attention at all.” 

“That was the first time something like that ever happened,” said Symons. “What the hell are you gonna do, go stick speed bumps all through that road? That is not realistic.”

This is Symons’ fourth year on campus. He is a senior with a commercial music major. 

This event happened on Sept. 26. 

“We have been trying to slow people down,” said Proctor. “We sit up at the intersection. We try to pull people over and either give them a warning or a ticket. Essentially we’ve been doing additional unsafe driving enforcement.” 

“Clearly, everyone was prepared,” said Symons. “They had security cameras to catch them.” 

“Students should be more cautious when going through any type of environment where there is an excessive number of people, especially during the day,” said Proctor. “And you have to be aware of crosswalks. In the state of Pennsylvania, a driver has to yield to any pedestrian in a crosswalk.”


Photo was taken by Ashley Grasinger of a pedestrian on the crosswalk going from Reeves to Boyle