A UF student is in a medically induced coma after being hit by a car early Thursday morning.
At about 12:40 a.m., Calhoun Wolverton, a 19-year-old UF accounting second-year student, was crossing the 300 block of Northwest 13th Street, near Target and Krispy Kreme, when a car hit him outside of the crosswalk, said Graham Glover, Gainesville Police Department spokesperson.
An ambulance rushed Wolverton to the Intensive Care Unit at UF Health Shands Hospital.
As of Sunday night, no charges have been filed against the driver. The crash investigation could take months, Glover said.
Pedestrian safety in the city, particularly along University Avenue — just a couple blocks from where Wolverton was hit –– has become a concern after the deaths of two UF students on the road in December and January.
Wolverton is in a medically induced coma and will require facial reconstructive surgery, CAT scans, MRIs and other procedures to recover, according to a GoFundMe page created by Wolverton’s fraternity, Beta Theta Pi.
As of Tuesday morning, Wolverton is in critical condition but is stable, his father, Tobin, wrote in an email.
Tobin and Wolverton’s family are grateful to UF for providing the family with a student apartment to stay in while Wolverton is being treated.
The fraternity started the fundraiser Friday to help cover his medical expenses. After receiving more than $20,000 in its first six hours, the fundraiser has raised more than $41,000 of its $70,000 goal as of Sunday night.
Wolverton’s family created a Facebook page called “Friends of Calhoun” to keep the community updated on his recovery. According to a post in the group, Wolverton’s MRI showed severe brain injuries.
The incident caught the attention of Florida Not One More, a student-led organization advocating for safer roads in Gainesville.
Florida Not One More created an Instagram post to call attention to Wolverton’s condition after its members heard about the fundraiser. The post received more than 1,200 likes within two days.
“This shouldn’t happen to another UF student, Gainesville resident — anyone,” Kailey Kiss, a 21-year-old UF public relations junior and founder of the organization, said. “Everyone should always feel safe crossing the street.”
The Florida Department of Transportation, the city and UF have come up with short term solutions, Kiss said, including the creation of two crosswalks, lowering the speed limit on University Avenue and GPD’s traffic safety initiative Gator STEP. However, she believes more long-term solutions are needed.
After the incident Thursday morning, Florida Not One More began planning a “die-in” protest on April 17 at 5 p.m. located at the UF Arch on University Avenue. Protestors will simulate being dead by lying on the ground with signs or drawing chalk outlines around their bodies.
“It’s a strong form of protest, but I feel it’s gotten to that point,” Kiss said. “It shouldn’t take another life for action to be taken on this issue.”
Contact Lucille Lannigan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LucilleLannigan.
Lucy is a senior journalism major and the metro editor for The Alligator. She has previously served as a news assistant and the East Gainesville reporter for the metro desk as well as the health and environment reporter on the university desk. When she’s not doing journalism you can find her painting or spending time outside.