Child struck brings attention to unusual crosswalk

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The walkway across Olio Road in Fishers is unlike any other local crosswalk.

“You push a button and, in theory, traffic sees the light and stops,” said Teresa Lorton, who lives in Fishers and regularly drives in the area.

When activated, first there's a yellow flashing light, then solid yellow, then two solid red lights. All traffic is supposed to stop. But Monday, as 6 year-old Hayden Porter and his brother were crossing Olio Road at the crosswalk with their mother, an SUV failed to stop in time. Hayden was hit.

“I don't know if they didn't see the blinking lights or didn't know to stop,” said witness Michelle Ruhnow, “or wasn't paying attention or what the deal was...but that's when one of the boys was struck.”

The system, known as a High Intensity Crosswalk or HAWK beacon, was installed across Olio Road less than two years ago.

“You could drive on this road ten times in a day and never see it activated. So, I think you have to be alert and you have to be cautious because you never know when it's going to activate,” said Lorton.

Police agree. While attentive driving is always important, it's especially critical in a school zone.

“Drivers should immediately have a heightened sense of awareness as soon as they enter a school zone to be watching for different types of automatic traffic signals and pedestrians in the area,” explained Fishers Police Department Sgt. Tom Weger.

Starting Wednesday, the crosswalk will be busy will children attending the first day of school. The light that has been dim most of the summer will suddenly be activated multiple times a day - and it will be up to drivers to pay attention.

“Hopefully the boy survives and hopefully it's a lesson for all of us to be smart and be slow,” said Lorton.

Hayden Porter was last listed in fair condition at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. He suffered several broken bones when he was hit.