A Cal Poly student was hit by a white van in a restricted driving zone while walking to class today at 8 a.m.
Mathematics junior Sarah Ortiz said she was crossing the street from the path that runs along the edge of the University House to her class in the Construction Innovations building when she was struck by the van, which was driven by a male who she assumed was a Cal Poly employee because the van was within an area designated for university vehicles. She was hit on her left side as the van traveled north on South Perimeter Road.
“It was like 8:09 a.m., and I was just walking through here,” she said, as she stood on the path leading into the crosswalk. “The van had stopped, so I thought he saw me. I was almost to the other side of the yellow lines, and all of a sudden, I felt the van hit me. It was kind of like slow motion, and then, I felt myself hit the ground and slide.”
Ortiz said she sat down on the curb right after it happened. Then, the driver got out of the van and asked if she was OK.
“He said that the sun was in his eyes so he didn’t even see me crossing the street,” she said. “I told him I thought you saw me because you stopped.”
He hadn’t, but he did offer his personal information to “help pay for anything” — Ortiz could not share his information.
After the exchange, Ortiz went to her class “in shock and shaking and crying,” so the teacher told her she should go to the Health Center with a friend.
The Health Center told Ortiz she was showing signs for a fracture in her right elbow, in addition to abrasions on her right shoulder, elbow and hip. Ortiz said X-rays were sent to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center to confirm the fracture.
University Police Department (UPD) officer Jason LeClair responded to the traffic collision, which he said involved a pedestrian and a vehicle — he could not confirm whether or not the vehicle was Cal Poly affiliated.
Ortiz said UPD looked up the driver and “he didn’t register as a Cal Poly employee.”
LeClair finished interviewing Ortiz at approximately 10:15 a.m. at the scene, after she had spent approximately two hours in the Health Center.
“According to the pedestrian, it was right about here,” LeClair said as he stood just north of the middle of the cross walk that leads to the Construction Innovations building.
LeClair said the victim sustained a “minor injury,” and he was not aware of accidents of this kind occurring in this intersection before today.
“It is still early in the investigation,” he said. “As we go further into, I’ll know more later.”
Ortiz’s roommate kinesiology junior Julie Kopstein was with Ortiz while she was talking to LeClair. Kopstein said she was in class when Ortiz texted her to tell her she was hit by a van on campus.
“I thought it was just a little nudge, and I said ‘OK, I’ll be home in like 10 minutes to hear about it,’” she said. “Then I heard she was in the Health Center, so I went over there.”
Kopstein then spent the next hour with Ortiz as she finished at the Health Center and spoke with UPD. The pair left for home in what appeared to be good spirits.
“I guess this isn’t a very good corner for the sun,” Ortiz said.