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Fundraising continues for playground to honor IPS School 57 student killed in crosswalk crash

Hannah Crutchfield died last September after she was hit by a car while walking home from school.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's been eight months since the tragic death of 7-year old Hannah Crutchfield.

The first grader at George W. Julian School 57 was hit and killed as she, her mother and a crossing guard were crossing the street after school.

"She's gone because of road rage and reckless driving," said Cassandra Crutchfield, Hannah's mother.

On Wednesday, Cassandra joined school, city and state leaders to announce a new fundraising campaign for Hannah's Memorial Playground.

"When I found out that some of the students here at George Julian wanted to makeover the playground in her honor, I was touched," said Cassandra.

Fundraising efforts have raised more than $88,000. The goal is to raise $200,000.

If the community can raise $50,000, CreatINg Places, a campaign through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, will match the other $50,000 needed to build the playground.

"With the support of this fundraising campaign and the matching grant, we will be able to make Hannah's Memorial Playground a reality. This project came from our students in their time of grief as they processed Hannah's death. They were looking for ways to honor her," said Michelle Pleasant, the school's PTSA president.

Students also got to pick its colors - yellow, gray and two shades of blue.

Leaders say Hannah's Memorial Playground should also serve as a reminder of safety changes they want to see in Indianapolis, like speed cameras, traffic-slowing technology and more.

"The events of that day, as well as other nationwide incidents involving students being either injured or killed in tragic accidents, highlighted yet again the issue of safety for all students," said Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Aleesia Johnson. 

According to State Rep. Blake Johnson, Indianapolis experienced a high number of crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists.

RELATED: Crossing guard who survived deadly crosswalk crash shares message for victim's family, suspects

"Last year, 2,272 crashes resulted in incapacitated injury, 171 of which involved pedestrians or cyclists. Sometimes we hear statistics like that and I think we're numb to it. But every single one of those accidents turned families lives upside down," said Johnson.

Johnson said he introduced a bill to use technology to slow speeds in school zones.

RELATED: IMPD cracking down on bus stop violations

"We have to hold drivers accountable, especially when they put at risk the lives of the most vulnerable road users and especially the kids who are just trying to get home safely," said Johnson.

Crutchfield agreed.

"I know we are not the only community grieving the loss of a child, a sibling, a loved one due to unsafe roads. Things need to change. We need to prioritize pedestrian and cycling safety, not just here in Irvington, but all over our city," she said.

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