Crime & Courts

2 West Charlotte students hit by cars are recovering

The two West Charlotte High School students struck by cars two weeks ago on Beatties Ford Road in northwest Charlotte are recovering, school officials said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police appear to be following through with a promise to step up enforcement of speed limits on the road, which is heavily used by pedestrians and has three schools nearby.

“Both students are doing better,” West Charlotte High Principal John Wall said. “One is out of the hospital, and the other is in rehab. The news is good.”

Jennifer Crystal Tejeda, 16, was struck around noon Aug. 25, the first day of school. She was hit while trying to cross in the 1800 block of Beatties Ford Road, near Hildebrand Street. Police said the driver of an outbound 2004 Dodge Stratus could not see Tejeda because the driver’s view was blocked by a truck.

Four days later, D’Nea Watson, also 16, was hit about 7 a.m. in the 1500 block of Beatties Ford Road, near Northwest School of the Arts. She suffered serious injuries and is undergoing rehabilitation.

No charges were filed against either driver, and police said neither student was using a marked crosswalk.

Teachers and administrators at West Charlotte High have talked to students during the past week about the importance of using crosswalks. Students at Northwest School of the Arts and University Park Creative Arts Elementary, on Hildebrand Street, also are being reminded of safety rules, administrators said.

But Cynthia Smith, a crossing guard at Northwest School of the Arts, said part of the problem rests with drivers. She said it’s difficult to get people to slow down.

Charlotte City Council member Al Austin said stepped-up police patrols and use of temporary speed detection signs might improve the situation. Those stepped-up patrols appeared to be in evidence Tuesday. In a span of 30 minutes, CMPD officers pulled over two motorists on Beatties Ford Road near Northwest School of the Arts.