UF student pedestrian in coma, surgery after 13th Street car accident

Calhoun Wolverton, a University of Florida sophomore from Tampa studying finance and accounting, was struck by a vehicle while crossing 13th Street near UF campus late last week, according to police.

Wolverton was rushed by an ambulance early Thursday to the UF Health Shands Hospital ICU and put in a medically induced coma, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Beta Theta Pi fraternity to help cover medical expenses for his family.

Monday afternoon, Wolverton went into surgery for facial reconstruction, a Facebook post said in the “Friends of Calhoun” page set up Saturday by his family to give recovery updates.

A Sunday post said his MRI showed brain trauma more severe than expected and that Wolverton is at a higher risk of infection.

“Please pray for the doctors and team performing his surgery. Pray for no infection and that [he] will respond to commands in the coming days,” wrote Angela Leverette Reeder, one of the group administrators and a close family friend of the Wolvertons, in the message. “Thank you all for loving Calhoun and our family!”

According to another update from Reeder, UF gave Wolverton’s family a two-bedroom apartment to stay in five minutes from the hospital.

His injuries come after outrage over repeated pedestrian accidents and deaths along UF’s major roads: West University Avenue, 13th Street, 34th Street and Archer Road.

More: UF student dies, four hurt in University Avenue crash

More: Pedestrian hit on University Avenue recovering from severe injuries

In December and January, two UF students were killed in crashes on University Avenue. Wolverton was struck near Krispy Kreme at about 12:40 a.m. He was not in a crosswalk at the time, Gainesville Police Department spokesman Graham Glover wrote in an email.

The driver’s identity is known to police, but no charges or citations have been issued, he stated in a text message to The Sun.

Just hours before Wolverton was struck, on Wednesday, the student-led advocacy group Florida Not One More had a “Walk for Change” protest at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on campus to raise awareness over traffic safety issues.

The group made a social media post on Instagram about Wolverton, saying, “he should have felt safe crossing the street,” and linking to his GoFundMe. The fundraiser, created Saturday, has raised almost $50,000 of its $70,000 goal.

The money will help cover Wolverton’s surgery, CAT scans, MRIs and other procedures, according to the GoFundMe description.

Outside of his academic studies and his fraternity, it said, Wolverton was involved with the Youth Leadership Conference, Student Government elections, UF Finance Club, Southwest Recreation facility staff, and the Doulos Greek Ministry.

After the January death of UF sophomore Sophia Lambert, the Gainesville Police Department and other agencies have been discussing and pursuing traffic safety solutions, like retiming of lights, decreased speed limits, extra high visibility police patrols, crosswalk repainting and additional speed humps.

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