The Risk of Church Parking


Lilly Dunn

Cones now guard the entrance to The Church at Rush Creek.

“Teen Hit by Car Crossing Street in Front of Lake Ridge High School” read the Channel 5 news’ headline. September 6, 2019 was a frightening day for all those involved. Allegedly a freshman student was running across Day Miar Road, attempting to get to his ride that was parked at Rush Creek Church, when he was hit by oncoming traffic. The incident raises multiple questions, one of which being, why student drivers and parents alike are parking at the church during unauthorized hours?

For Systems Pastor at the Church on Rush Creek, Jeff Kirkpatrick, that Friday started out like any other day. However it ended drastically different. Kirkpatrick’s phone was bombarded with several messages from staff members at the church and was surprised when he read through them.

“I found out from our pastor, Marty Collier. He texted me Friday afternoon to let me know there was an incident and I received several other texts after that regarding the incident. It certainly did not make my Friday to say the least,” Kirkpatrick said.

The incident was a shock to not only the community at Lake Ridge, but also to the community at Rush Creek. Junior and Rush Creek parishioner, Schuyler Loughlin, was shocked and worried for the student.

“I was really concerned for the kid. We were all looking up the Snapchat stories on our phones, because the band buses had left right after it happened. Nobody knew what was going on,” Loughlin said.

The incident serves as a lesson. It serves as a catalyst for the Mansfield community. No one wants another, similar accident to happen and sophomore, Audrey Shellenberger, hopes that the school and church can cooperate to prevent this.

“I was very sad for the student and I am praying he’s okay. I hope that the school and church can work together to make sure the environment is safe and no one gets hurt in the future,” said Shellenberger.

Kirkpatrick knows the issue is a prominent one. He has tried to fight back against student drivers parking at the church by spending his mornings warning people against parking there.

“It is something we have been pushing back against for several years now. We have really focused on trying to keep the kids out of the parking lot since day one. Since the incident, one of the things we’ve not wanted to do was tow cars, but they’ve really left us with no other option.” Kirkpatrick said.

The incident is an alarming accident. For the driver parked at Rush Creek patiently waiting on her student to cross the road. For the driver who couldn’t stop in time, and the student that was hit. It is a lesson for all drivers that whilst it might be easy to park at the church, the risk is simply not worth it.