One year since local teen killed crossing highway

Credit: Brittany Knight/Facebook

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s been one year since a local teen was killed crossing 787 in Cohoes.

Brittany Knight, 16, was a sophomore at Cohoes High School and was on her way home when she was hit and killed while trying to cross at Bridge Avenue.

“She had her whole life ahead of her,” Brittany’s great-step aunt Betty Napoli said.

After one year, Napoli’s heart still breaks over losing her niece.

“Brittany was a light, and that light was taken away,” she said. “She might be shining up in heaven right now, but our light is gone.”

An investigation found Knight didn’t wait for the signal to cross, and the vehicle’s driver was speeding.

“A child was taken for no reason because somebody was foolish,” Napoli said.

Knight wasn’t the first to die there, but her death was the catalyst for change.

Traffic lights now turn red at the same time and give pedestrians more time to cross. Police have also increased their patrols and have issued more than 1,000 tickets since Knight’s death.

“I’m proud that every time somebody gets pulled over, we’re all chanting for Brittany saying, ‘You get them Brittany. You get them,’” Napoli said.

Now, the New York State Department of Transportation responded with a $15 million project to revamp the deadly intersection by turning into a boulevard that’s pedestrian friendly.

The plans are still being drawn up, but construction is slated to start in spring 2018 with a completion date set for fall 2019.

“I wish tomorrow it could be done, but I know that that’s not reality,” Napoli said.

Napoli wants more done now.

“Start taking these people and hold them responsible for the way that they’re driving,” she said.

Otherwise, she said another tragedy is bound to happen.

“I don’t want to see somebody else have lost a family member,” she said.

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse said the DOT will be in Cohoes next week to start talking about preliminary designs for the boulevard.

A memorial for Knight can be seen along the road.

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