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Parents demand change at intersection where 7-year-old girl was killed

The accident has parents and neighbors calling for safety changes at the intersection where Hannah Crutchfield, her mother and a crossing guard were hit.

INDIANAPOLIS — A memorial is growing on the sidewalk outside George W. Julian School in Irvington.

People stopped by the corner outside the IPS elementary school all day Wednesday, to pay tribute to a young student killed Tuesday in a crosswalk crash.

The coroner has identified the little girl who died as 7-year-old Hannah Crutchfield.

The accident at Ritter Avenue and Washington Street also has parents and neighbors calling for safety changes at the intersection where Crutchfield, her mother and a crossing guard were hit.

Diana Armstrong drove from Greenwood to Irvington with a symbol of what IPS School 57 is now missing. She placed an empty desk chair among the flowers and tributes to Crutchfield.

"This broke my heart yesterday. I'm a nurse. I'm a grandma," Armstrong said. "The kids are broken hearted! There's one empty desk in there today that shouldn't be empty."

RELATED: 7-year-old girl dies, 2 adults critically hurt after being struck by vehicle near Indianapolis school

She was just one of a steady stream of mourners who created a memorial Wednesday, with flowers, balloons and teddy bears. They're all trying to comprehend a crash in a safe school zone that took a young life.

"It's just heartbreaking," said parent Laverne Coleman, "that one of our parents has lost their child...walking home from school!"

Coleman brought her fifth grade son, Marel, to the memorial to read the messages of love for the little girl's family.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the mom," Coleman said.

Metro Police said when the light changed Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Washington and Ritter, a multi-car crash went right into the crosswalk.

They have not released additional details about what caused the crash, citing an active investigation. But they do say two vehicles hit Crutchfield, her mom and crossing guard Mike Sykes.

Both drivers are cooperating with investigators and both submitted to a blood draw at the hospital after the crash.

Hannah Crutchfield died at Riley Hospital for Children. Her mom was critically injured.

As of Thursday morning, a PayPal account collecting funds for the families has raised more than $17,000. Click here to donate.

Credit: WTHR
Crossing guard Mike Sykes, who was injured in Tuesday's crash, visited the memorial to Hannah Crutchfield at George W. Julian School.

Sykes, now in an arm sling, said he's in pain, heartbroken, and praying for the girl's family. The contracted crossing guard told 13News he was asked not to talk publicly yet about the crash itself.

But parents and neighbors are talking.

Several who stopped by the memorial Wednesday said they want safety at the intersection improved before another young student gets hurt.

"I see how people drive through here. It's a drag race," said Jason Hunt, who lives and works in Irvington. 

RELATED: Reviewing the IPS 'walk zone policy'

"This could've easily been us. I mean, they don't pay attention and they just speed by even if the lights are flashing," Coleman added.

"I'm not sure of the solution," Hunt said. "I don't know, speedbumps? I don't know, footed patrol? I don't know what it would take. This isn't an isolated issue. I've definitely seen mothers grab their children for dear life and narrowly escape what happened yesterday."

"No other lives should be lost. No other family should be grieving," Armstrong said. "No other students should be missing somebody in their classroom and that empty chair is a reminder of the little student we lost yesterday."

A vigil to remember Crutchfield is set for 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Washington and Ritter on the east side of Indianapolis.

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