Campus police emphasize pedestrian safety after student’s death

By Brennen Hubbard  – bhubbard@unca.edu – Staff Writer

Paul ‘Travis’ Schaible, a former UNC Asheville student, died at Mission Hospital on March 26, three days after being hit by a pickup truck at the intersection of Broadway Street and Campus Drive, according to police reports.

People who interacted with Schaible said they remember him as an outgoing individual with a carefree attitude. Harry Samuels, an environmental studies student at UNCA, said he knew Schaible well.

“He had a very exuberant sense of humor,” he said. “He was very community-minded. He behaved as though there were no boundaries or invisible walls between people.”

According to Samuels, Schaible was both a veteran and brain cancer survivor. The residual effects of surgery took a toll on his schoolwork, but did not deter him, he said.

“I remember feeling bad for him, because I wouldn’t put nearly as much time into studying and remembering things for the same class as he did,” he said. “He was a good student, he was very relentless in his efforts. Definitely more so than me.”

In light of the recent accident, students expressed concern about pedestrian safety on campus.

Eric Boyce, chief of police at UNCA, emphasized the importance of obeying the campus-wide speed limit in order to save lives, according to a study he found.

“The most important thing students can do is, if they drive vehicles, be sure to obey the campus-wide speed limit, and that’s 20 miles per hour,” he said. “If an incident involved a pedestrian and the vehicle is traveling at 20 miles per hour, only one in 10 will die.”

According to the same study, if a vehicle travels at 30 miles per hour, 50 percent of pedestrians involved will not survive the accident and 90 percent of pedestrians will die if hit at 40 miles per hour.

Some of the responsibility for keeping campus safe does lie with the pedestrians, according to the chief, even if they do have the right of way.

“It’s also important for pedestrians to be aware of their environments,” he said.  “Consider not walking around with both ear buds in your ears so that you are able to hear if something happens.”

If students need to use the crosswalks, Boyce said to be sure to look both ways to ensure vehicles have come to a stop and the crosswalks are clear for them.

Since the accident involving Travis occurred on Broadway Street, the Asheville City Police Department were the first on the scene, according to Boyce.

On his way back from the Grove, Samuels said he saw the police cars around the scene, but was not sure what had happened until later.

“That’s the irony of it all,” he said. “I saw it after the fact and I wondered what it was, and it ended up being Travis.”

Schaible worked at Sam’s Club in Asheville, according to Robert Willis, a Sam’s Club employee. 

“I worked with Travis for about seven months,” he said. “He’s gonna be missed by all of us, but he’s always gonna be remembered.”

During those months, Willis came to know Schaible as a generous and kind person, he said. He said he considered him to be a friend, more than just a co-worker.

“I just wish we had more time with him,” Willis said.

Sam’s Club held a small memorial of their own, letting balloons with well-wishes go in the parking lot in his honor.

Both Samuels and Willis said, despite the things that could have held him back, Travis did not allow anything to get in the way of the getting what he wanted.

“All of the work that he had done because of the cancer made it hard for him to remember things because he had memory lapses,” Samuels said.

Regardless of the difficulties, Schaible was a person who understood the importance of education, according to Samuels.

“He believed very much in education and that every person should be afforded the opportunity to get an education,” he said.

 

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