NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More than five months after their 12-year-old son was hit by a truck and killed, a Norfolk family is celebrating a small victory for change.
Gregory Bateman, Jr. was in a crosswalk when the driver of a truck hit him in front of Richard Bowling Elementary School.
Ever since it happened, the child’s family has been pushing the city to something to make the area safer for pedestrians.
On Tuesday, Norfolk city leaders voted to install a new traffic signal at the intersection of Princess Anne Road and Majestic Avenue.
A memorial is still displayed for Gregory Bateman, Jr. off Princess Anne Road.
“The family still goes out there, decorates the memorial,” said Leticia Latham, a Norfolk resident. “They are getting through it.”
The 12-year-old was coming back from Broad Creek library when the tragic accident happened. Latham has been a voice for his family and the community ever since.
“We want to make sure that we install a traffic light and we keep his light going,” Latham said.
In a unanimous vote, the Norfolk city council agreed it’s time to put up a traffic light at the intersection where Gregory was walking the day he passed away.
Ward 3 Councilwoman Mamie Johnson said the light is part of the city’s plan to make a safer community.
“That incident that occurred was devastating to us,” Johnson said. “We are looking at the community of Broad Creek to be a walkable community, and in order for us to do that, we do realize that we’re going to have to do something about the traffic there.”
Johnson said getting a permanent traffic signal could take between six months to a year, but a temporary signal is already in the works.
“To see that the city wants to go ahead and implement even some temporary solutions, that’s great because there is an immediate need,” Latham said.
Although the fight for a light was a success, Latham said her work isn’t over yet.
“We have a future generation and we wanna make sure that’s it’s safe for the next generation,” Latham said.