Parents of student killed at Polk intersection say pedestrian safety measures needed

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Many reminders lay where a 17-year-old Lakeland teenager was hit and killed on his way to school in Lakeland earlier this year. Most notably, a cross adorned with memories of Kalen Kirk, set up along Clubhouse Road.

“Going to school, going to work, coming home from work, going to the store, things of that nature. It’s just a constant reminder of what happened,” said Tony Kirk, Kalen’s father.

Kalen was hit and killed in May by a Polk County crossing guard supervisor.

MORE: Crossing guard supervisor hits, kills Polk student darting across dark street

Reports show he became the third person to die on Clubhouse Road since 2014.

Residents complained it’s too dark as students head to the bus stop.

The county installed a streetlight. But to his parents, it’s not enough.

MORE: Streetlight installed at Lakeland intersection where teen was struck, killed

“There needs to be some movement,” said Lisa Kirk, Kalen’s stepmother. “There needs to be traction happening right now for a pedestrian crossing.”

The director of the Polk County Roads and Drainage Division, Jay Jarvis, sent an email to 8 On Your Side that says the county and Florida Department of Transportation are in the midst of a study, started over the summer when school wasn’t in session, to determine if improvements are necessary.

Tony and Lisa Kirk believe a permanent fix is long overdue.

MORE: Mom demands Polk County protect other children after her own son’s death

“What traffic study is needed when three kids have lost their lives?” Lisa Kirk asked. “Why does the study even need to be done? We’re talking about common sense measures here.”

For now, these grieving parents will continue to push for change, hoping no other parents feel their pain.

“To watch your just-turned 17-year-old son take his last breath – that is absolutely – there are no words. There really are no words,” Lisa Kirk said.

The investigation into the driver of the vehicle that hit Kalen, identified as Shirley Cross, 60, is still ongoing, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.

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