Petition calls for safety improvements at intersection where 12-year-old died

Hunter Cope hit, killed in March while walking to Mayport Middle School

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

MAYPORT, Fla. - More than a month after a 12-year-old boy was hit and killed at a busy intersection while walking to Mayport Middle School, his mother is asking the community to help her by signing a petition that aims to improve safety.

Hunter Cope was fatally struck March 6 at the intersection of Wonderwood Connector and A1A. Police said an SUV continued through a yellow light at the intersection about 8:30 a.m., hitting Cope, who was walking with five other children.

Since then, residents, city officials and Cope's mother, Crystal Clark, have called for the area's 45 mph speed limit to be reduced. 

Clark told News4Jax that any change will help so no other child gets hurt. But she's also disappointed the improvements aren't happening fast enough.

"I think (there should be) a crossing guard at that intersection, speed lights, 15 mph (speed limit) during school let out times, or maybe just have the bus come and pick the kids up," Clark said.

Kelly Bussey agrees. After she learned that Cope, who was a classmate of one of her children, was hit and killed at the busy intersection, she created a petition, which calls for crossing guards and a lower speed limit along A1A, which turns into Mayport Road -- a road where many Mayport Middle School students walk daily.

"I just want to remind people to slow down. If you're a few minutes alter going where you need to be, you're OK. Slow down. You'll get there safe and people on the road will get there safe. Somebody's child will go home," Bussey told News4Jax.

According to city officials, the Florida Department of Transportation determined that the 45 mph speed limit is appropriate in order to keep the high amount of traffic moving since it's a main road that many use to get to Naval Air Station Mayport. 

"I think a change needs to be made and I'm very happy that she started this petition," Clark said. 

The petition will be delivered to the Duval County schools board, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and FDOT.

As of Thursday evening, the petition had more than 300 signatures. The goal is to get 500. 

To sign the petition, click here

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