American University student struck by car near Friendship Heights Metro station dies from injuries

- American University is mourning the loss of a freshman student after he was struck by a car at a busy intersection last week.

Kenneth Clarke died Thursday from the injuries he suffered in the collision that took place on March 27. It happened at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Western Avenue at the D.C.-Maryland line near the Friendship Heights Metro station.

Friends and members of the American University community have been raising money for Clarke's medical bills on a GoFundMe page while he was being treated in the hospital following the crash. The fundraising page shows they had raised more than $33,000 in a week.

The 19-year-old student was from the Seattle area and was studying political science at American. His mother told FOX 5 that her son was a straight-A student and a person of sincere United Methodist faith.

D.C. police said at around 10:25 p.m. on March 27, a driver traveling westbound on Western Avenue hit Clarke, who was trying to cross the street at the intersection. The driver stayed at the scene.

It is unknown at this time who had the right of way, but several pedestrians said they fear crossing at the intersection because of the amount of traffic here along with drivers who are not always careful.

“I always look both ways even when the sign tells me to walk,” said Marquise Johnson. “I still wait at least 5 to 10 seconds and then I will proceed.”

“I think it's a wakeup call,” said Venus Rogers. “It's definitely time to do something before we lose other lives.”

Fanta Aw, the Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence at American University, wrote in a letter to students regarding Clarke's passing:

Dear American University Family,

With deep sadness the Office of Campus Life informs the AU community of the death of Kenneth Clarke, a first-year student in the School of International Service and resident in Roper Hall. Kenneth died from the consequences of a severe traumatic brain injury and brain bleed sustained after being hit by a car last week.

We extend our sympathy to Kenneth’s family and friends and those in the AU community who knew him. Kenneth is remembered for all he gave to the community around him. His death leaves a great emptiness for his family and friends who knew his genuine compassion and kindness, and who knew firsthand his deep faith and commitment to serving others. The tremendous outpouring of support for him and his family in recent days is a testimony to the powerful effect Kenneth had on our university community in his all too short time with us.

For students affected by this tragedy, please remember that the Counseling Center offers drop-in hours Monday-Friday from 2-4 p.m. for confidential counseling services. The Dean of Students staff is also available for drop-ins on weekdays 2-4 p.m. to support students with concerns that affect their academic success. Faculty and staff may access support through the Faculty & Staff Assistance Program by calling 202-885-2593. Chaplains in the Kay Spiritual Life Center are available to assist community members as well.

The Counseling Center staff will be available from 12–2 p.m. today in Butler Conference Room A-B for those who need to be in community to grieve. All are welcome.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, April 8, at 4 p.m. in the Kay Chapel.

As we grieve the loss of a promising young student, please take time to be there for one another.

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