Pedestrian’s death raises concerns in Denton

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DENTON — A city council member has formed a task force to assess the safety of Denton’s streets for pedestrians, days after a car fatally struck a Texas Woman’s University senior as she crossed the street.

Brenna’ Taylor, 23, was hit by a car Thursday night as she walked across Bell Avenue. It’s an area where there are lots of pedestrians, but no crosswalks or signs.

“In my mind, one death is too many,” said Denton City Council member Kevin Roden, who chairs the city council’s mobility committee.

Roden, whose district encompasses that area, said he plans to work with officials from TWU and the University of North Texas to come up with recommendations to the City Council to address pedestrian safety concerns around the campuses. The first meeting of the task force will be Tuesday night at his Denton home.

Taylor’s family members are heartbroken, wondering what, if anything, could have been done to prevent her death.

She had worked her job at a day care center and took a bus to go home. She was crossing the road Thursday night in the 800 block of Bell Avenue when a car hit her.

The cause of the accident remains under investigation.

“I would hope this would be a wake-up call,” said her aunt, Audrei Steward. “There’s a lot of college kids that either go to UNT or TWU. I wouldn’t want anybody else to sit where we’re sitting at today.”

On Roden’s Facebook page, a number of people highlighted specific locations of concern. One person even posted a map.

“No crosswalks. No pedestrian signals. Looks like Frogger out there at rush hour,” that person wrote.

Taylor’s family members said they worried when she enrolled at TWU because she didn’t have a car.

Taylor’s sister, who lives nearby in Lewisville, said she noticed how dark it was at night in that area, and offered to drive her to and from her day care job. Taylor declined.

“She didn’t want us to do that for her,” Steward said. “She wanted to do this on her own.”

Family members said Taylor never complained; that just wasn’t in her nature.

“She was an angel, a real angel here on earth,” said her sister, Breiona Taylor. “She just had a peace about her.”

Taylor, a fraternal twin, was born with a growth deficiency condition that caused significant childhood health issues. She overcame those ailments to graduate from Sherman High School.

She went on to attend Grayson College before transferring to TWU in her junior year, family members said.

“We knew she had challenges, but the Lord made a way though that even through her body may have stopped at 4′-11′, her mind was just unbelievable,” her aunt said.

Taylor loved children and planned to teach kindergarten because they wouldn’t be taller than her.

“She was always, ‘I’m bigger than them’ and she could feel in control,” her sister said.

Steward said her niece was thrilled about her impending May graduation.

“She was dedicated to get it done, because she knew she had a drive and a purpose,” her aunt said.

Classmates of Brenna’ Taylor’s 2010 class are holding a memorial vigil in Sherman on Tuesday night.

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