BRANDYWINE, Md. - Six months after a teenager was hit and killed crossing a busy intersection in Prince George's County, the state of Maryland is now making safety upgrades.
Because of a growing shopping center and nearby neighborhood, Crain Highway (US Route 301) in Brandywine sees hundreds of thousands of vehicle come through the area every day. But it has no crosswalks and the nearest one is 1.8 miles away.
It has created a dangerous situation for people who need to cross the 10-lane highway as cars speed by.
That is what 16-year-old Derrick Staton did often when he headed to the stores at the complex. He was fatally struck on New Year's Day while crossing Route 301 at Chadds Ford Drive at around 1 p.m.
Staton’s mother said her son should not have had to die for crosswalks to finally go in.
“I wouldn’t want his legacy to be anything like that,” explained Marla Houston. “He was really into computers like his dad and he was supposed to go into the Cisco program next year. I would rather his legacy be him discovering something in the computer world and not crosswalks.”
Maryland State Police are still investigating Staton’s case and his family is still fighting for justice for him.
“He was at an intersection, so he was crossing where he was supposed to be,” explained Houston, a retired police officer. “It’s not his fault that there is no crosswalk down there, so because of thatm he had to lose his life. He’s not the first. I just pray that he’s the last.”
Unfortunately he wasn't. In April, a man was hit and killed trying to cross Route 301 at Berry Street.
Residents said the lack of crosswalks and sidewalks has been an ongoing problem for years.
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Association in January, the department got approval for crosswalks in this area more than two years ago, but no progress was made past that — until this month.
One crosswalk will be added at Route 301 and Chadds Ford Drive while another one will be added at Clymer Drive.
Construction will begin sometime in July. MDOT SHA anticipates completing the project by the fall.