Around 6:53 p.m. last night, junior art education major William Hillyer was hit by a 2006 blue Chevy pickup while walking in the crosswalk located on 1500 Merchant Street, according to Emporia Police Captain Lisa Hayes.
After a night of preparing clay to use for his art projects, Hillyer was on his way back to his off-campus apartment when 78-year-old Larry Hartup of Emporia allegedly failed to yield at the crosswalk and struck Hillyer. Hillyer did use the button installed in the crosswalk at the time of the accident to indicate that he was crossing. He was transported to Newman Regional Health with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Hartup had no apparent injuries and was issued a citation for “failure to yield at a pedestrian crosswalk,” according to Hayes.
Unable to answer questions over the phone because of his injuries, Hillyer wrote a statement to The Bulletin saying:
“My parents took the news very well and were in Emporia as soon as they possibly could be. They were understandably shaken up but very thankful to see me alive and ‘well.’”
Hillyer’s parents took him back to his hometown in Olathe after finding out that his computerized tomography (CT) scan was clear. He was released from the hospital at around 9 p.m. and his main injuries included a slightly fractured nose, cuts, bruising and overall soreness.
Included in Hillyer’s statement was his concern for a lack of a stoplight near the crosswalk.
“I (Hillyer) believe that not only would a proper stoplight help prevent accidents like what happened to me from occurring in the future, but I also believe that it would help alleviate some of the after school traffic in the area,” Hillyer wrote. “Both from students leaving campus, and for parents picking up children from the on-campus child care center right next to that intersection.”
Hillyer also decided to contact the Emporia city manager Trey Cocking with these concerns. According to Hillyer, Cocking responded to these concerns and assured that he would be in contact with ESU to “improve the corridor."
In a phone conversation with Cocking, he confirmed that he spoke with Hillyer and plans to work with Fire Chief Brandon Beck to contact ESU and make these improvements.
“I am incredibly lucky to still be here,” Hillyer wrote. “And thankful for everyone on the scene last night for helping me out.”
NOTE: This story has been updated January 26, 2023.