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Pinecrest Pushes For Safer Intersection After Pedestrian Deaths

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Pinecrest is considering changes to an intersection after two college students were killed.  (Source: CBS4)

Pinecrest is considering changes to an intersection after two college students were killed. (Source: CBS4)

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PINECREST (CBSMiami) – The village of Pinecrest is looking into making an intersection safer after two University of Miami students were killed while crossing the roadway.

“The village manager and the village has been in touch with the county and they are doing a study looking at the intersection and we’ve asked them to look at it with the mind to put in some kind of crosswalk, perhaps flashing lights when someone presses a button. If they’re going to cross, the lights will flash and warn drivers that a pedestrian is in the crosswalk,” said Pinecrest Councilman James McDonald.

The family of one of the victims struck and killed traveled halfway around the world earlier this week to get answers and perform a ritual for their lost loved one.

Authorities said 27-year-old Ying Chen and 26-year-old Hao Liu were crossing the street on 88th Street and SW 68th Court around 8 p.m. on October 16 when they were both struck by a Porsche driven by 47-year old Milady Pequeno.

The driver did stop several hundred yards away from where the collision took place, police said.

Chen’s family flew to South Florida from Beijing, China to find out what happened and why.

The family members performed a Chinese ritual, Tuesday, on the street corner to remember the young lives lost in what – so far – appears to be a tragic accident.

“We believe their soul will come back on the seventh day.  And this is why her mother is praying on the sidewalk,” said U.M. student Ping Zou.

Chen was getting her Ph.D. in electrical engineering while Liu was also getting his Ph.D.

Family and friends gathered to remember two students who’d come to South Florida from the other side of the world to complete their studies and make their families proud.

“She teach me how to play Chinese guitar…so sorry for her death,” said Verong Xia, the victim’s roommate.

The Chinese consul sent representatives to console the family and meet with fellow U.M. students who are concerned.  No charges have been filed in the case.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala also released this statement:

“The entire University community is heartbroken at the loss of two students who were struck and killed by a car in an accident Wednesday night near their off-campus apartments.  Hao Liu and Ying Chen were international graduate students from China in their first year of study, majoring in electrical and computer engineering. Our Student Affairs staff has been working closely to offer support to their families, who have our deepest sympathies at this difficult time. The University’s Counseling Center and Chaplains are available to students impacted by this tragic accident.” 

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