Residents react after pedestrian crash kills teen on Clark Lane

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COLUMBIA - Residents are asking for road improvements after a driver hit and killed a 17-year-old girl on Clark Lane Monday night.

Police said 17-year-old Claudine Nibigira of Columbia was walking eastbound near the 3600 block of Clark Lane just after 10 p.m. when a silver Infiniti driven by Tamara Lewis of Lawrenceville, Georgia, struck her. Emergency responders pronounced Nibigira dead at the scene.

The Columbia Missourian reports Nibigira was a student at Battle High School.

Clark Lane, also known as Route PP, is maintained by the state. But the City of Columbia also works with MoDOT on occasion to upkeep the road.

There have been multiple construction projects on Clark Lane throughout the years, with the most recent one finishing last fall. Joyce Enyart, who lived off of Clark Lane for almost 10 years but still works in the area, said more needs to be done.

"It's just a very dangerous area with all the high traffic and speeding that goes on through here," she said. "People don't pay attention. They're too busy on their phones, distracted by the radio, distracted by whoever's in the car with them."

Connie Lynn, who also works in the area, said pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings as well.

"We are always trying to put the blame on someone else for our negligence which is driving too fast," she said in a Facebook message. "And people not paying attention while walking, and thinking they have the right of way down the middle of Clark. I see it a lot. I’ve been making this commute 7 years now."

Enyart said adding more sidewalks and street lights would improve safety for both drivers and pedestrians.

"The lighting issue, that would help a lot," she said. "Extending the sidewalks because there are sidewalks through certain points of Clark Lane, but if they extended them all the way up I think it'd just be a great idea."

MoDOT Communications Manager Adam Pulley said the department currently doesn't have plans to add more sidewalks or street lights on Clark Lane.

"Safety is our number one priority and we will continue to partner with local communities and look at any opportunity to improve the safety of the roadway for motorists and pedestrians," he said.

(Editor's note: KOMU.com has updated this story to include a quote from MoDOT.)

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