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Sophomore Hit Crossing Comm Ave

No charges filed


Police and emergency medical personnel attend a student hit by a car on Commonwealth Avenue. Photo by Brendan Gauthier (COM’11)

A College of Engineering sophomore was hit by a car while crossing Commonwealth Avenue near the Granby Street intersection yesterday afternoon.

The 19-year-old woman was taken by ambulance to Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

A hospital spokesperson said the student was in fair condition Thursday night.

Boston University Police Sgt. Jack St. Hilaire says the student and some friends were crossing Comm Ave to its northern (Granby Street) side from the median at 12:30 p.m. The group, crossing against traffic that had a green light, apparently did not notice a westbound Volvo driven by Ivan D. Ross, a student at the Graduate School of Management.

“All of a sudden, they realized they were walking into the path of the Volvo,” St. Hilaire says. The friends were able to jump back to the median, he says, but when the victim, who was furthest out in the street, jumped backwards after them, it was into the Volvo’s path. The car hit her on its passenger side, knocking her onto the hood and causing her to hit the windshield. St. Hilaire says the Boston Police Department is not filing charges against the driver.

Ross, who says he has been trained as an EMT, immediately rendered aid. “My heart goes out to the student involved,” he says. “I hope she has a complete and speedy recovery.”

Boston Police Department spokesman Officer James Kenneally (COM’99) says the victim’s injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore expressed concern and sympathy for the injured student, saying he hopes she will soon be well. “I should also take this opportunity to remind students that we should never take our safety for granted, even when it comes to little things like crossing the street,” he says. “It’s very important that we look both ways and really see what’s coming. Sometimes a little patience goes a long way.”

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.


45 Comments on Sophomore Hit Crossing Comm Ave

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:51 am


    There was actually an ambulance in front of SCI at the time of the accident – I was walking to class that way and the EMTs were on lunch break…I told them there was an accident by Warren and they just said “Oh don’t worry about it”…glad it wasn’t a life-threatening injury.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 6:48 am

    Hopefully this student is OK, but students are frequently unaware of their surroundings. I always see students crossing Comm Ave when they shouldn’t be while distracted by their cell phones or just not paying attention. They should start ticketing students instead of bikers.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 6:54 am

    That is what happens when you cross on a red. I am surprised more people don’t get hit. Lesson learned.

  • Michael Zank on 10.01.2010 at 7:34 am

    Crossing against traffic

    I am very sorry for the student who got hit. But how many more accidents to we need before we decide that it is time to change how we negotiate the dense foot, bike, and automobile traffic that cuts through our campus? If traffic cannot be forced to slow down, why are there no footbridges, overpasses or underpasses? Alternatively, why can’t pedestrians and bikers abide by the rules? If this were a European city, speed limits in this high-density pedestrian area would be reduced to a crawl. Why can’t this happen here?

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 8:10 am

    A student is hit every year

    I have witnessed a similar incident and too was the first on the seen when another woman was hit by a Jeep while crossing Comm Ave near CVS. As I watched her body be thrown through the air like a rag doll my heart sank. Fortunately, she too was lucky enough not to sustain life threatening or debilitating injuries. With all the money that city poured in the Rose Kennedy green way and all the money BU brings into Boston you would think the city and BU could work together on a similar project to put the that section of the T underground. Not only would this save lives but it would generate a huge piece of green real estate that both the students and the rest of the city dwellers could enjoy for years to come.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 8:25 am

    Double standards

    How about a little reminder to pedestrians to not jaywalk (i.e.- run red lights)?

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 9:11 am

    I hope the gal who got hit is fine, but I’m honestly not surprised at all. BU should have a course that teaches these kids how to cross a street! I’ve had to stop in the middle of the road so many times, to let some kid who just wandered out without looking, lazily stroll across the street (without them thanking me for saving their lives, either). Did their parents never teach them to look before they cross? Do they think they’re on a grassy campus in the middle of Kansas?! Use your heads, children!

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 9:18 am

    ticket. jaywalkers.

    if police are around to enforce red light rules for cyclists (and supposedly motorists), where are they when it comes to enforcing traffic signals for pedestrians? there is something that can be done about this, beyond reminding students to look both ways before they cross when they’re not supposed to.

  • Eddie on 10.01.2010 at 9:28 am

    Street crossing should be part of application process

    Can BU ask students to prove they can cross a street before accepting them?

    I’m not one to wait for the cross signal I’ll cross if there are not cars coming but I wont walk out into oncoming traffic. I just dont understand how it doesnt happen more often around here, pedestrians on campus dont even wait on the curb while traffic is passing inches form them.

    Anyways it is hard to feel bad for the student in this case, feel more sorry for driver.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 9:30 am

    Doesn't surprise me

    It’s a miracle more haven’t been hit this year. I feel bad for both driver and pedestrian. I’d be badly shaken if I hit someone who then hit my windshield. I can’t tell you how many pedestrians and cyclists have suddenly appeared in front of my car. So many students are crossing against the light! I always wonder if Mom and Dad taught them their colors, since many have a problem distinguishing between red and green. Drivers have to be constantly alert, especially from Packards Corner to Kenmore Square.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 9:34 am

    Not Suprised!

    The intersections on Comm Ave are horrible for pedestrians and drivers. Many times a pedestrian will have the light but so do the drivers who are looking to turn. I’m suprised there aren’t more accidents.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:06 am

    “It’s very important that we look both ways and really see what’s coming.” ??? Shouldn’t we look at the light???

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:20 am


    I have no sympathy for this person. Everyday I see BU students crossing the street with no regard for oncoming traffic. Not only is it dangerous but it is also extremely rude to the motorists. It seems as if some students believe that BU purchased Comm Ave so they can do whatever they want with it and cannot comprehend that cars sometimes have the right of way too. Now I know that a lot of people cross when they technically should not, but why just wait on the sidewalk while there is no oncoming traffic. But if you are too simple to look at what’s approaching and judge the time you have before that car reaches you, then maybe you should just always wait until the pedestrian sign tells you to go. I hope this girl makes a full recovery but past that I cannot support her at all.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:20 am

    I’m sorry that the student got hurt, but seriously, this is no surprise. I see students wandering–yes, wandering–out into the street all the time. Sometimes I’m on my bike and have to veer around them, other times, I’m in my car and have to come to a stop in the middle of the road. Did the parents of these CHILDREN not teach them how to cross a street?! I think BU needs to have a quick course for all students every year to tell them that they’re not on a grassy campus in the middle of Kansas, but in the middle of a city. And add into that lession that no one should walk alone late at night. Not boys, and especially not young girls. Heads up, kids!

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:32 am

    Sucky situation for all involved

    I must say that really is a pretty stinky situation to find yourself stuck in. And I too have also had a few close calls with overzealous pedestrians who pay no mind to the traffic lights. I just don’t get it. I mean, if I’m the pedestrian and there isn’t a car in sight, I’ll cross the street when the cars coming at me have the green light, but I’d never consider doing it on a busy street like Comm Ave. That’s just inviting trouble. I hope for the student’s sake and that of the friends she was with that if nothing else, she takes this lesson away from the experience with her… Even though you’re a pedestrian and the law says cars have to stop for you if you’re in a crosswalk, that does not give you permission or protect you from getting hit if you’re going to walk out into traffic while on a busy street when the cars coming towards you have the green light. You are not Moses. You cannot part the Red Sea by your own will alone. The same applies to cars, you cannot will them to stop and they cannot always stop in time if you choose to be reckless about how you cross the street.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:33 am


    I am sorry to hear this news and glad all is well.

    But I am not surprised. I drive within the BU territories daily and the students are awful about crossing. Just yesterday I had a woman step into the street while I was already making the turn (I had the right of way) and she kept going, forcing me to brake while she almost strolled across the street. The only thing missing was her phone. Too many BU students will stare you down, ignore you, text, talk — anything but stop, wait, be courteous, or even law abiding. I wish I had a penny for every curse I’ve uttered; I could drop them in the collection box and maybe even out my score.

    Seriously, Dean Elmore or someone — teach these kids the rules of the road.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:33 am

    Much like the “texting while driving” law and “helmet on motorcycles” law, the police should really start enforcing Jaywalking. I have sympathy for the victim, but she broke the law. You can be fined under Boston City Article A7, section 1 for violation of Pedestrians crossing ways or roadways improperly, which is also addressed in the State laws under 720CMR 9.09 (4) (a), and then again under MA motor vehicle laws Chapter 90, section 18a. Instead of prosecuting the driver, why aren’t they filing charges against the victim?

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:34 am

    C’mon, look at the light first!!!!

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:34 am

    As a frequent driver in the Comm Ave and Brookline areas, I relate more with the driver, but I feel awful for the student as well. I was going through the Beacon/Park St intersection a few months back at night, and a girl on her cell phone stepped right into my lane as I was no more than 15 feet away from her. I used brakes, spun the wheel, and blared the horn, and missed her by inches. Her face didn’t even seem that scared! Seriously people, cars have the right of way at a green light, I know your life is extremely important but not enough that you can’t wait even a couple minutes.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:35 am

    After reading this story, I am actually offended that there was even a reason to state that there are not going to be charges filed against the driver. He did nothing wrong! Do people truly feel that the world revolves around them so much that they will walk into on-coming traffic and expect cars to stop for them? Really? And this is an institution of higher learning? That implies that there’s something there to be scaffolded upon. This incident is absolutely pathetic. Pathetic!

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:38 am

    Both to blame

    Why don’t they change the speed limit through the campus, like they do all around other parts of the country where there are schools! Are they going to wait for “x” amt of deaths before they do this?
    Drivers need to slow down, students need to mind the traffic signals.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 10:44 am

    sucks, but it's true.

    @ first comment: It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is, if you don’t look both ways when you’re crossing against traffic you’ll get hit. I certainly feel bad, but as the department said, look both ways. If you’re going to take the risk of crossing when you don’t have the right-of-way, then be careful. It should take a girl getting hit to warn people, but this should be looked at as a cautionary tale. It doesn’t matter who you are, you no match for a 2 ton bullet on wheels.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 11:02 am

    I saw this accident yesterday. I feel very sorry for the driver, who was obeying traffic laws and hit someone who wasn’t paying attention. I hope the student makes a full recovery, but it shouldn’t take something like this to call attention to the fact that pedestrians cross the street in front of oncoming traffic on Comm Ave all the time. This is a huge problem at BU. As others have written, I was surprised that the presumption of guilt initially/implicitly lay with the driver (“no charges will be filed”) when there were dozens of witnesses to the accident who attested that it was not his fault. The statement from Dean Elmore was not strong enough, in my opinion, and is further testament to the way in which the administration at BU continues to take the issue lightly.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 11:08 am

    The same should be said for bicyclists who blatently ignore the rules of the road. They are supposed to follow the same rules & regs as those driving cars, but are seen going through red lights and weaving in and out of traffic. One time I almost hit a father with his child (in a child seat on the bike). I was in the left lane to make a left turn. The bicyclist stopped at the red light (it was a very busy intersection) ON MY LEFT – and there was a lane on my right. So, of course, I expected him to turn left. When the light turned green he proceeded to go STRAIGHT across the street. When I turned left I almost hit both of them. Fortunately I had quick responses.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 11:18 am

    Pedestrians at BU

    How about a class in CROSSING COMM AVE 101 for all incoming students? I work at St Paul and Comm Ave and have witnessed many near misses, esp. in Sept. and Oct. I’ll happily teach it.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 11:31 am


    This was quite tragic and my heart and prayers go out to both the driver and the pedestrian. If I can perhaps give a little perspective though… As a frequent pedestrian, biker, and driver myself, I have a lot of sympathy for all three groups. Each class of travel has its own set of challenges and there are certainly idiots in all three groups who endanger/frustrate others. Of those three though, I have the most sympathy for bikers. In the past three years, I’ve never been in an accident walking or driving but have been hit while biking by poor drivers on 5 separate occasions.

    Anyways, I thought it might be useful to contemplate herd mentality. This girl wasn’t walking alone. And, although I wasn’t there, and I don’t want to justify or judge, from personal experience, I know people in general feel safer in a herd, but that group awareness goes down (especially as familiarity goes up). As the number of people increases, each feels less responsibility. So, this girl may have just stepped off the curb because her entire group of friends did and everyone in the group just assumed that someone else had bothered to check the light/traffic. If anything, this is a lesson in psychology and a warning sign to everyone (drivers, bikers, and pedestrians) to be more aware and not make assumptions. Just because the person in front of you does something, doesn’t mean you should do it too.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 11:35 am

    Speed Limit

    No doubt with the green light on it is student to be blamed….But she got hurt on a very little mistake…..I will suggest that there should be a speed limit within the campus area….Sometimes students are in immense hurry for several reasons and they have to take risks on traffic, which they shouldn’t ofcourse. I think having speed limit for the cars and motor bikes will reduce the danger of some life taking accident.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:05 pm

    It is a campus...

    Honestly, this is a college campus. Of course there are going to be pedestrians everywhere crossing the street at inappropriate times. Drivers do have the right of way if there is a green light, but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to race down Comm Ave and assume that if someone steps out in front of you, it’s their fault. Obviously, the girl should have looked sooner and been more cautious crossing the street, but you can’t even see the color of the light at that intersection. We really need longer crossing signals on Comm Ave like they do in Cambridge and we need to lower the speed limit for drivers. No, it’s not a grassy campus in Kansas, but when Comm Ave literally cuts across campus drivers and their 2000 pound vehicles need to be cautious as well as the students.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:07 pm

    Crossing against lights

    I see this every day driving in to work. It’s either bicyclists running red lights or suddenly becoming ‘pedestrians’ and riding across crosswalks or pedestrians crossing on a green light. Not to say that the drivers are perfect either, they are far from it. But, you don’t see nearly as many cars running lights as you see pedestrians and bikes.

  • Puji on 10.01.2010 at 12:08 pm


    As a daily commuter to school, I fell very bad for this girl and hope she has a speedy recovery. But people crossing the street REALLY need to watch out for cars and give them the right of way specially after classes get out. Ive sat behind a light for 3 minutes before waiting for the students to cross. And a word of advice as a driver, if you’re already about half way in the lane of an oncoming car, just run forward. Cause the driver can slow down enough to miss you. But by the time you turn to go back, you will probably be hit.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:08 pm

    It is a campus...

    Honestly, this is a college campus. Of course there are going to be pedestrians everywhere crossing the street at inappropriate times. Drivers do have the right of way if there is a green light, but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to race down Comm Ave and assume that if someone steps out in front of you, it’s their fault. Obviously, the girl should have looked sooner and been more cautious crossing the street, but you can’t even see the color of the light at that intersection. We really need longer crossing signals on Comm Ave like they do in Cambridge and we need to lower the speed limit for drivers. No, it’s not a grassy campus in Kansas, but when Comm Ave literally cuts across campus drivers and their 2000 pound vehicles need to be cautious as well as the students.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:19 pm

    My heart goes out to the driver and also to the student who was injured. And I agree with the comments above that suggest that pedestrians need to mind traffic lights and do what we were all taught in kindergarten: look both ways before crossing the street.

    one thing that no one has mentioned is that it is impossible to cross the entirety of Comm Ave, let alone the BU Bridge, when you have a “Walk” light in your favor. At best, you can get halfway across. I’ve been in other cities with a large pedestrian population and they’ve figured it out. For example, in DC they give pedestrians at least 30-40 seconds to cross most intersections. Guess what? People actually wait to cross because they know that they can make it when they have the green light. Anyone who has been in downtown DC traffic knows that an extra 20 seconds of waiting is nothing, and not having to dodge pedestrians takes some of the stress out of city driving. Why can’t the city of Boston give pedestrians the few extra seconds it would take to cross safely???!!! Do this and actively enforce jaywalking and the business of moving around this city will be greatly improved.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 12:54 pm

    I’m glad this girl is going to be alright, but she (and many other students on this campus) really need to wise up. If the light is green and you’re absolutely DETERMINED to cross anyway, CHECK FOR CARS. People need to have their wits about them.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 1:13 pm

    Can the city of Boston build a pedestrian crossing bridge? I know that would be a lot of money to pour into but in the long run prevent most of these unfortunate accidents.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 1:17 pm

    Back in Australia, where I come from. This girl would have gotten a ticket. If you cross while having a red light you get a minimum of a $110 fine. But what I think is the real problem in comm ave is the time pedestrians get to cross the street. You ONLY get about 10 seconds!! Yeah, we are young students, but we shouldn’t be running on every corner to cross the street according to the time they give us. They should take Cambridge as an example and increase the pedestrian’s time to cross the street

    Though, I really hope she’s ok now!

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 2:49 pm

    Look before you cross...Pedestrians, drivers & YES BIKERS TOO!!

    There is no need to enforce a reduced speed limit…that is not going to stop people from walking against the light! This is the real problems. I am a student and I walk to class everyday. I am always surprised and angry when I see student walk or stroll LITERALLY into oncoming traffic and expect them to slow down when it is the drivers right of way! Obviously, no body wants students to be hit. But all of the ADULT STUDENTS need to remember crossing the street 101! Wait for your light, even if it means waiting 4 minutes in the median.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 3:24 pm

    I think the motor vehicle laws need to be changed.

    Yes, the girl was crossing against the light, but still. She’s a person, she doesn’t have the shield of a steel cage around her body to protect her.

    When a car hits a person, the LEAST that should happen should be a traffic ticket. I mean, come ON. GET REAL here!!

    I know somebody whose father was tragically killed in a vehicle vs. pedestrian. The driver was CLEARLY at fault and he didn’t get cited either. These laws need to be changed. It’s a 2000+ pound vehicle vs. a 200 (at MOST) lb person…get serious.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 3:41 pm

    I feel bad for the drivers....

    I am a freshman and I am living in a city for the first time. I am amazed at the ignorance of students when crossing the street. Crossing the street here is no different than at home people!! Cars still have the right of way. There are many times you can cross when there is a green light but you can’t assume you always can. Every day I walk from CAS to Kenmore and cross many side streets like Granby and I can attest to the ignorance toward crosswalk lights. Cars are trying to turn onto or cross Comm Ave when they have the light and herds of studets cross anyway. Ther have been times when I stop because there is a car and the people behind me just keep going. Sometimes I don’t know if I should cross too because I’m not sure how long the driver is going to wait. The other day I was very surprised when a driver waved thanks to me for stopping and letting him turn!!! Very different from where I live in New Jersey where if a car stops for you as a pedestrian you thank them ten times over because you have probably been standing there for ten minutes not daring to set foot in the street…in a 25 mph zone. People need to get a clue. When it’s your body vs. a car, you’re lucky to make it out with few injuries like this student. She was very lucky. I hope she has a speedy recovery, learns her lesson and tells other people to watch out as well.

  • Anonymous on 10.01.2010 at 4:30 pm

    I feel bad for the driver....

    I’m a freshman and I’m living in a city for the first time. It still amazes me how ignorant people can be when crossing the street! There are times that you can cross while the cars have a green light, but you can’t assume it will always be like that. Crossing the street here is no different than at home! The cars still have the right of way! I walk from CAS to Kenmore everyday, and I cross many side streets like Granby, where cars are trying to cross, or turn out onto Comm Ave. There have been times I have not entered the crosswalk because there is a car coming, and the people behind me just keep walking. I’m never sure if I should go too because I don’t know how long the driver is going to wait.
    I was surprised the other day when a driver waved thanks to me for stopping and letting him turn! Where I live in NJ, it is completely the opposite. If a car stops to let you cross, you thank him times ten, because you had probably been waiting for more than 5 minutes not daring to step foot in the street…in a 25 mph zone! People need to get a clue and respect the flow of traffic. If it’s your body vs a car, you’re lucky to make it out with only a few non-life-threatening injuries! This student was very lucky. I wish her a speedy recovery, but I hope she and others can learn from this incident.

  • Anonymous on 10.02.2010 at 1:22 am


    I hope the girl makes a full recovery but I feel sorry for the driver. Unfortunately, I have to drive through this mess every day and see herds of students – often on cell phones or listening to ipods – just stepping into oncoming traffic without so much as looking up to see if a car is coming. Further down the road, cars are often double parked in front of Star Market or parked illegally on the corner blocking a driver’s vision.

    The number of students crossing illegally at these Comm Ave. intersections is almost laughable. Where did they learn such complete disregard for rules of the road? Since the students don’t seem to care about personal safety & are oblivious to traffic lights, it’s time for BU/police to vigorously enforce jaywalkers and those who cross when they don’t have the “walk” signal.

    BU is developing a really bad reputation and is increasingly seen as an unsafe place to send a kid to college due to these traffic/pedestrian issues. Too much time is devoted to issuing parking tickets while only lip service is paid to these dangerous intersections. BU – it’s time to step up to the plate and do something before someone gets killed!!

  • Anonymous on 10.02.2010 at 11:03 am

    student struck by car

    one of first persons on scene situation looked very serious. does anyone know her true condition? article above says she’s in fair condition and not life threatening. has anyone heard or seen her since that can update us?

  • Anonymous on 10.03.2010 at 1:10 pm

    Social Cohesion?

    As “Rationale?” posted, perhaps the phenomenon of “social cohesion” cold be better taught in Introductory Psychology classes. Add to the curriculum the “application of behavioral principles”, and perhaps there will be a reduction in these situations.

  • Anonymous on 10.03.2010 at 5:09 pm

    that sucks but...

    green means the cars can go, not the pedestrians

  • helena B. on 10.05.2010 at 11:47 am

    Sympathy anyone?

    I’m shocked to see how uncaring everyone is in response to the story. If you have ever been on BU’s campus, I can GUARANTEE that you have crossed the street when the light was green. Let’s be real– everyone does it. Don’t pretend that you’re such a saint about safety. It’s terribly unfortunate that this poor girl got hit and you all should be ashamed of yourselves for bashing her when she was injured. This could have happened to anyone on our campus. If you were hit by a car, would you want everyone to be criticizing you online? If you had seen the girl get hit (like I did), you would think twice about posting such accusations. Have some sympathy.

  • Anonymous on 10.06.2010 at 8:21 pm

    student gets hit by car

    BU or Boston itself needs to hire some police officers(or retired officers) to work as crossing guards. If the road is too busy for the amount of students who have to cross, then it is up to BOSTON UNIVERSITY to assure safe passage for its students. Can you hear me Boston University?????? You are responsible for providing a safe environment for your students.

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