"Safe-Walk" at West Virginia University

On February 1st, West Virginia University student, Leah Berhanu, was struck and killed by a vehicle at the intersection of Patteson Drive and Morrill Way.


The 21-year- old civil engineering major was involved in many student organizations and was always seen walking around campus with a smile on her face. After Leah’s death, hundreds of people gathered at Woodburn Circle to light candles in memory of her life.


This tragic accident has impacted many students, but it has inspired one student in particular to help make a change to ensure that something like this will never happen again and that Leah’s legacy will live on.


Student Representative, Brent Scott, was one of Leah’s childhood friends. The two graduated from Trinity High School together in 2014. Scott made his appeal to the Morgantown Pedestrian Board on Monday, discussing the plans to organize a “Safe-Walk” throughout the WVU campus and the surrounding Morgantown areas.


“If there is one thing that I’m certain, Leah would be extremely disappointed if an effective change was not made from this tragic incident,” said Scott. “I am dedicated to ensuring that the death of such an amazing young woman does not go in vain.”


This “Safe-Walk” will include members of the WVU student body, faculty, staff, and the Morgantown law enforcement community. Their goal is to identify areas that are in need of renovated sidewalks, pothole repairs, and additional crosswalk or signage. Once these spots are identified, the Student Government Association will take action to ensure these repairs are completed, making the university and city a safer place for all individuals.


“The Mayor and Pedestrian Board were very supportive of the idea,” said Scott. “We have come up with some dates to discuss, and we’re just trying to figure out which will work best.”


Some of the areas that have already been identified include the road next to the Coliseum, in front of the Mountainlair, and the intersection of Patteson Drive and Morrill Way.


“It is important that we all stick together through this time,” Scott said. “And that we do not act on emotion, but we identify actual needs within our community that will further our desires to continue the legacy of Leah.”