Grandmother's dream to make streets safer realized

October 5, 2010 4:59:04 PM PDT
A grandmother's push is finally paying off. She wanted changes along the road where her grandson was killed. She's doing it to make sure no other family has to deal with the loss of a loved one. Violet White has been working to get street lights installed along South Houston Avenue in Humble for over two years now.

It was July 23, 2008 when her 17-year-old grandson was struck and killed by a vehicle on the dark street.

The Humble grandma didn't give up, and at the end of the two-year battle, she finally got what she wanted -- lights installed on a road that neighbors admit can be dangerous.

They are considered a sign of progress. The street lights represent the result of a two-year crusade by White.

"It's gonna make a big difference," White said. "The streets are just black at night, and we're gonna be here tonight to make sure they're working."

They are lights, she says, that would have saved her grandsons life. Schawnell Hatchett Jr. was just 17 years old in 2008 when he was struck and killed by an SUV. It was early in the morning hours, and Hatchett was riding his bicycle. At the time, the driver told authorities she just didn't see him.

The two-lane road has no sidewalks and no shoulders. It's a dangerous combination, neighbors say.

Employees at Danell's Gifts and Florals drive along Old Humble every day. The stretch between Rankin Road and Atascocita is especially treacherous.

"My concern is when you're driving at night and it's real dark, you can't tell if people are walking or riding a bike, so it's better for your surroundings to be all lit up so that you can be away of what's around you," Williams said.

Ten street lights were installed Tuesday morning through a cooperative effort between CenterPoint Energy and the city of Humble. The city is also matching donations of bicycle helmets White gives out every year.

"We don't think about certain things, about our children and how safe they are," White said. "He should have been wearing a helmet, but it never dawned on us because was a young man, 17."

White is now focused on helping other children. The street lights will now shine where none existed. However, White treasures another light she says that always brightens her day.

"He was a Christian; he knew God and we know he's all right," White said. "And we think he fulfilled his purpose; and many, many lives are gonna be saved because of him."

The lights turn on for the first time Tuesday night. White says she is moving on to the next project, which is getting either sidewalks or bike trailers or even a shoulder installed on the road.


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