NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s been a couple of days since a life was almost taken in East Nashville.
“I was hoping it was a joke, but then I saw him lying on the ground and I realized it wasn’t a joke,” said Z Zaldivar.
“I just got off the phone and say ‘hey, I’ll meet you at Drifters. I’ll see you in five minutes,'” he said. “In that five minutes, he got hit by a car.”
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Patterson was crossing a crosswalk at South 10th Street and Shelby Avenue when he was hit.
“My mind immediately jumped to is he going to be okay?” remembered Cathy Carrillo.
Carrillo and other East Nashville residents heard the news and decided to form a new group called “We Walk Nashville.”
“Where Jabari crosses there’s so many people that use that intersection to cross to get to Five Points or to get to the gas station,” said Carrillo. “So it really could have been any one of us.”
That reality pushed the group to schedule a press conference Thursday evening demanding accountability and change.
“While we’re over here having conversations about billion-dollar stadiums and helicopters, where is the dignity and respect for the life of residents that have to move through the city in order for the city to have a billion-dollar stadium?” asked Carrillo.
Multiple people spoke at Thursday’s presser including Zaldivar.
“The city needs to understand also that we need to take pedestrian safety seriously,” he said. “Other cities know that we have a problem here. Other cities know that a lot of folks get hit. We need tougher laws on drivers who hit pedestrians. We need accountability. Our families need to be taken care of.”
At the event Carrillo said they are pushing for tougher consequences for drivers, budgeting priorities for infrastructure changes and quick builds, and want immediate improvements to this busy intersection.
“We are asking for speed humps to be put on this local street to lower the speed even more,” she said. “We are asking for pedestrian beacons to be put in to help those that are crossing at this intersection. As well as stop signs because this is not a mid-block cross, this is an intersection.”
Trevor Silva is the owner of My Cluck Hut and is also an East Nashville resident who said Friday, Dec. 16, 100% of sales from his online soap store would go to Patterson and his family.
“If we can come together I challenge ya’ll to help donate,” he said.
While friends and family are grateful Patterson survived, they hope his story can bring about the change needed for this community.
“We have the opportunity to speak out, we have the opportunity to say this can’t keep happening,” said Carrillo.
News 2 reached out to Nashville’s Department of Transportation that told us in the next week they will be adding rectangular rapid flashing beacons at that intersection.
They also said their engineers will be assessing the location for other potential safety improvements as well.