Loved ones fighting for change after 11-year-old dies after being hit while walking to school bus


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Those close to Lizzie Robertson Rutland formed a circle of blue and purple balloons, the 11-year-old’s favorite colors.

She’s described as being a ray of light, full of faith and a firecracker.

“We could never get her to sit down and she wanted to be involved in everything,” family friend, Rikki Weber said.

She was killed walking to the bus stop Wednesday morning and police are still looking for one of the drivers who struck her.

“It’s a terrible situation here. We lost an angel,” neighbor, Paula Gay said.

Neighbors said McNaughten Road is dangerous with no lights or sidewalks and said speeding is an issue.

“Just being out here with the kids, people are flying up and down here,” neighbor, Imaani Wilson said.

NBC4 was out on the street for 30 minutes clocking how fast drivers were going.

The speed limit is 35 miles per hour.

However, we caught people going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Some said Lizzie’s death should be a wake-up call for the city.

NBC4 reached out to the city and was told that the stretch of McNaughten Road between Main and Broad street ranks 24th on the list of streets for potential sidewalk installation.

It is based on criteria such as data from the MORPC Pedestrian Crash Database, 311 requests, sidewalk gaps, worn paths and Safe Routes to School.

The cost would be about $7 million and right now the city says that funding hasn’t been identified.

“We need to get this done immediately,” Gay said.

Now, friends said they are going to fight for change.

“We want to make sure that no other families have to go through that, no other children just getting an education have to go through that situation,” Webber said.

They are using the hashtag: #4TheLoveOfLizzie.

“We want to make sure that her life doesn’t end, that we leave the legacy that she always wanted to leave,” Webber said.

And making a change is what they said Lizzie would have done.

“If this was a classmate of hers she would have started this already, that’s just the person Lizzie was,” Webber said.

People close to her said it’s now their mission to get sidewalks on this street and they will start a petition to do whatever it takes.

NBC4 reached out to the city to find out how many crashes have happened on this street since the beginning of the year and they are working to get that number.

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