Businesses, students say better lighting needed where LSU student was struck by SUV

Businesses, students say better lighting needed where LSU student was struck by SUV
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The area near Tigerland where LSU sophomore, Sarah James, was struck by an SUV on Tuesday, July 16 has people questioning whether there’s enough lighting along Nicholson Road. James, 19, was a biomedical engineering student who had dreams of being a doctor.

There are no streetlights, no stoplights, and only a sidewalk on one side of the street between Burbank and Bob Pettit near the 4400 block of Nicholson Drive, where James was struck.

“Daytime its never a problem,” said Raj Parakh, who runs the Tigerland Market on Nicholson. “I’ve never heard any kind of mishaps or accident during the daytime. [I] see a lot of them happening in the night.”

DOTD says there’s a crosswalk with a stoplight close enough to where James was struck.

A Tigerland bar owner who did not want to be interviewed on camera says the bars have asked for better safety measures for people coming and going from Tigerland, measures such as more crosswalks, better lighting, and a police presence at night.

A report from The Advocate in November of 2018 showed in the last five years, there have been three incidents in which people were hit by vehicles on Nicholson Drive.

“Between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., you see this road is full of college students walking in groups, jumping, shouting, dancing. They don’t wait for the light to turn green to cross. They just cross from anywhere in between, expecting other cars to stop,” Parakh said.

Other students as LSU agree that the lighting is poor.

“I really think it’s poorly lit, and everyone’s in a rush to get to Tigerland, or drive through that intersection,” said Maggie Morris, an LSU student.

“Walking across the street, like going over the railroad tracks, that’s when it gets kind of scary,” said Avery Mann, another LSU student.

A vigil took place for James Wednesday night at the St. Charles United Methodist Church in Destrehan.

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