MARYLAND

Seneca Valley High students promote pedestrian safety in teen's memory

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Dozens of people are rallying around a Montgomery County mother whose daughter was killed while walking to school.

A car crashed into 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward on Germantown Road last Halloween. Morris-Ward was just two blocks from Seneca Valley High School when she was struck. It was dark out, and she was wearing dark clothing.

Now her friends, family and community volunteers are hitting the streets with an educational campaign in the teen's memory.

"I'm not going to stop until we continue to save lives, save as many lives as we can," said Morris-Ward's mother, Gwendolyn Ward.

Gwendolyn Ward is among the team of "safety champions" stationed at nearby intersections.

"Put these on your backpack. Please, put them on your backpack," volunteers passing out reflectors said. They also pointed out unsafe behaviors, like texting and wearing earbuds while crossing.

Nina Bernard, one of Christina's friends, said, "It's important to me now, because I have lost a friend."

Christina's friends say losing her became a wake-up call.

"After she died, everything changed, and it makes people realize it's serious. At any given moment, your life can be taken by one car," added friend Ramatu Kebe.

There were more than 3,000 crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists across the D.C. region last year. Seventy were fatal; six were in Montgomery County.

"Every fatality is a tragedy that needs to be avoided," said Jeff Dunckel, the Montgomery County pedestrian safety coordinator. "What's frustrating is we do find that distracted driving and distracted walking are getting to be more and more of a problem."

A "problem" Gwendolyn Ward will continue fighting, knowing her daughter is smiling down on her.

"I know that she's giving her mom the thumbs up and peace sign like,'Go, mom,'" Ward said.

Several students at Seneca Valley also produced a public safety announcement in Christina's memory. You can watch it below.

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