At least one Northwestern student now looks both ways before crossing the street. Sophomore Joey Hendershott is a little more cautious after being hit by a truck while in a crosswalk.
At approximately 8:35 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, Hendershott was crossing the street at the crosswalk between the Cafe and Van Peursem Hall when he heard his friend sophomore Derrick Marra call out his name. The next thing he knew, he had been hit by a truck.
“I saw a truck,” Hendershott said. “It was slowing down, so I automatically assumed he saw me and was going to stop. Apparently he didn’t see me because the sunlight was in his eyes or something.”
Shocked bystanders watched as Hendershott was thrown nearly six feet forward onto the ground.
“I was just really worried,” said senior Jen Angus.
For senior Liz Kester, witnessing the accident triggered her nursing-student mentality.
“I wasn’t even in the mindset to call (911),” Kester said. “It was like, should I be taking his pulse? Vitals?”
Hendershott got up and stumbled to the side of the road where he lay down on the grass to assess how badly he was injured. The man who was driving the pickup got out of his truck to see if he could help. Professor Koene was at the crosswalk when Hendershott was hit and called 911.
“I never saw someone fly through the air like he did,” Koene said.
After 10 to 15 seconds, Hendershott realized he was not seriously injured. He looked up, smiled and told the man who hit him that he was okay.
“He looked really, really freaked,” Hendershott said, “like he was about to cry or something. So I had to tell him ‘Hey, it’s alright.’”
Although Hendershott does not remember the name of the pickup driver, the man did accompany him to the hospital to make sure he was OK.
Students eating breakfast in the Cafe watched the entire scene unfold.
“Everyone’s eyes shifted to the crosswalk, freaked out and just prayed the kid was okay,” said junior Jordan Biehle.
Around campus, news quickly spread that a student had been hit by a vehicle. Within a half-hour of the accident, Hendershott was receiving texts from concerned friends asking if he was OK. It was also a popular topic on Facebook and Twitter.
Tests and x-rays revealed that Hendershott survived the whole ordeal with nothing more than a bruised knee.
“My friends thought it was pretty funny, just because I wasn’t hurt,” Hendershott said. “We joke about it. I’m now ‘that guy’ who got hit by a truck.”
Later that day, Hendershott informed his family of what had happened.
“I called my dad and started out with, ‘OK, don’t freak out, but I got hit by a truck this morning,’” Hendershott said. “He stayed calm. My mom freaked out completely.”
Hendershott also called his pregnant sister and took care to word the news as calmly as possible.
“So she wouldn’t have a baby or something,” Hendershott said.
Although Hendershott escaped the incident with virtually no injuries, his close call did have an impact on the way he crosses the street.
“I make sure to check about three or four times each way,” Hendershott said. “If there’s a car coming and it looks like it’s not slowing down, I just wait until it goes past.”
Hendershott offered students the following crosswalk advice.
“When you cross the road, make sure the car comes to a complete stop,” Hendershott said. “Keep your head up. Look at the car. Try to make eye contact with the driver. Don’t just assume it’s going to stop.”
Obviously, it might not.