Community church advocates for sidewalk at site of Saturday morning accident which claimed the life of 3 teens

(WTHR Photo/Sarah Jones)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Three teens were struck and killed early Saturday morning on Indianapolis’ northwest side.

Crowds gathered on Kessler Boulevard as police responded to a hit-and-run around 1:30 a.m. just south of I-65.

Three vehicles were involved in the accident and all three drivers have been located and all agreed to a toxicology request.

Witnesses told police the teens were walking along Kessler Boulevard when they were struck. Those who know the area well said they’ve been advocating for a sidewalk for years and that the need is immediate.

The stretch of road where the accident happened is two-directional and four lanes. West of the road is an apartment complex. To the east is a row of homes. Just north of the homes is The Purpose of Life Ministries.

"I was shocked but at the same time not surprised," Senior Pastor of Purpose of Life Ministries Rev. David Greene Sr. said.

He said that a sidewalk has been needed on this stretch of Kessler Blvd up to 30th Street for the last five years.

"There's an apartment complex located here. The nearest bus stop is south of here so people are walking up and down Kessler," Rev. Greene Sr. said.

Near the bus stop is a "Safeway at 34th and Kessler, and they could be walking to the Walgreens down that," Rev. Greene Sr. said.

The senior pastor said when the church is open, he sees people walking up and down the boulevard "at least every thirty minutes" and he expects the foot traffic to increase.

He said a near by IndyGo bus stop is closing and that all the people that normally walk to that stop will likely end up walking to the 34th Street stop instead.

"And that's going to increase the proclivity for something to happen," Rev. Greene Sr. said.

But it's not just the lack of a pedestrian space on the side of this busy road that has him concerned.

"There aren't streetlights all the way from here to 38th Street to 34th Street," Rev. Greene Sr. said. "So it's very easy for someone to not be seen. Especially if they're wearing dark clothing at night."

He said the winter months made it even more difficult to spot pedestrians.

Rev. Greene Sr. said his heart goes out to the friends and family of the three teens.

"Our prayers go out," Rev. Greene Sr. said. "We’re hoping to conduct a prayer vigil [...] in this area just you know, for the family, for the community as well because all of us grieve at the loss of three young people," he said.

Purpose of Life is currently working to set a day and time for the vigil.

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