FSU students say West Tennessee crosswalk is unsafe after sophomore hit and killed by car

After an FSU sophomore was hit and killed by a vehicle trying to cross West Tennessee Street,...
After an FSU sophomore was hit and killed by a vehicle trying to cross West Tennessee Street, students say the crosswalk is not safe.(WCTV)
Published: Jan. 31, 2020 at 4:30 PM EST
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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News

January 31, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- After a Florida State University sophomore trying to cross West Tennessee Street was hit and killed by a vehicle Thursday morning, students say the crosswalk is not safe.

Natalie Nickchen was a 19 year-old psychology major from Orlando.

According to the police report, Nickchen had the right of way. The driver of the vehicle has not been charged.

WCTV spoke with State Attorney Jack Campbell; he said "at this point there was not sufficient evidence to arrest the driver at the scene."

"Whenever TPD finishes its investigation, and hands over its final crash report, we will review it and make a decision at that time," said Campbell.

Multiple FSU students told WCTV that they were not surprised a pedestrian was killed at that particular crosswalk.

"This morning I was so nervous to come out because I saw what happened yesterday, and I heard the news that the girl got killed. So I was really nervous, and we had instances where we almost got hit too," said one student athlete. "I was going to school, I saw the accident, and I I wasn't surprised. I didn't know what happened but I wasn't surprised somebody got hit."

FSU senior Dakota Bosch tells his friends that crossing West Tennessee Street is the most dangerous part of his day, and said this is not the first crash he's seen in this area.

"Probably two or three months ago, and it was about the same time of day too like 8 a.m., and I was walking to campus, and there was a guy laying in the street because he had been hit by someone," said Bosch.

Bosch said the crosswalk is in an unusual spot.

"There's no intersection or anything, it seems very random. If you're not paying attention, you don't see it," he said.

Some FSU students hope for more police enforcement.

"What's the point of the crossing if you're going to break the red light every time?" said one student.

"There's cops that drive by here all the time and no one ever says anything," said senior Rose Finkelstein.

"Actually somebody stopped me before from walking out because they saw a car driving really fast," said junior Jordan Harnage.

There were three fatalities on Tennessee Street between 2008 and 2012.

FDOT resurfaced the road and improved sidewalks, adding stairs and ramps in 2014.

FSU students want better signage in the future.

"A sign that indicates a stop to walk, I know there's one here but it's hard to see regardless," said Harnage.

"They cost what, a few hundred dollars? It can't hurt. There's already been a few people hit in the last year," said Bosch.

Finkelstein says Nickchen lived in the same apartment complex as her, so they traveled the same path every day.

"I was thinking about if my parents got a phone call like that, if I was walking to class. That could've been me," she said. "It can happen to any of us and it's super scary and I wish her family the best."

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