Witness Recalls Accident That Killed Catoosa Girl
By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6
CATOOSA, OK -- A teenage boy who saw a young girl hit and killed by a car Thursday says he can't get the image of the accident out of his mind.
Witnesses say traffic on South Cherokee Street in Catoosa is usually a busy road with new restaurants popping up and casino traffic. They also say the road is usually backed up around the time of day when school is let out.
Kristen Harper missed the bus on her way home from school on Thursday. The 12-year-old Wells Middle School student was walking towards her home but for an unknown reason, she attempted to cross the busy two lane street.
A witness to the traffic accident that killed the girl says he is haunted by what he saw.
"I just can't get the way she looked out of my mind honestly. It scared me," said witness Austin Boyce, a 17-year-old Catoosa High School junior.
Harper was struck by a Dodge pickup truck pulling a trailer.
"Traffic was backed up pretty far, and she was walking out from either behind my car or one of the cars behind me and he just hit her," Boyce said.
The posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour and is not a school zone.
"I just pulled off the road here, and we tried to help out as much as we could," said Austin Boyce, a Catoosa High School student who witnessed the accident.
"Some people tried giving her CPR. Some people tried getting a hold of her parents. After the paramedics got there we had to leave," he said.
Catoosa Police say the accident is still under investigation but that the pickup driver did not have time to react.
"At this point, looking at the preliminary accident and witness reports, there is no indication that the driver was negligent, driving too fast or anything of that nature," said Lt. John Blish of the Catoosa Police Department.
Harper was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
A woman who says she was Harper's school bus driver declined to talk on camera. She and her daughter placed a teddy bear and rose on the site of the accident.
She says Harper lived in the neighborhood on the side of the street she was walking on. She also says she doesn't know why the girl tried to cross to the other side.
The Catoosa School District was already out of class Friday for a planned professional day. Harper's family is still making the funeral arrangements.