In the daylight, the letters painted by former students are visible in front of Leesville Road High School.
It’s an annual tradition for rising school seniors to put their personal stamp on the busty intersection.
“Every year, there is something new in the same place, the same intersection,” said parent Barry Johnson. “Usually, it has something to do with pride.”
On Monday night as the teenagers painted a tribute to the class of 2019, Marissa Foley, 17, was struck by a car, traveling southeast on Leesville Road. She was lying in the middle of the intersection and was unable to get out of the way in time to avoid being hit.
Foley was listed Tuesday evening in fair condition at WakeMed, which is where she was taken after being struck.
Josiah Baltozer said he swerved to avoid her, but couldn’t.
She ended up being thrown to the side of the road.
“They were laying down at first, on the road painting,” Baltozer said, adding that he was driving home from work when he noticed something in the distance in the road.
“They all of a sudden popped up, and it looked like deer at first and they scattered, most of them all went to the left,” he said. “So I saw that (and) I went to the right.”
Foley also darted to the right, directly in the path of the oncoming vehicle.
Baltozer said he is full of regret.
“Since it happened, it’s been replaying in my mind, (and) I still feel when it happened,” he said. “I feel her hitting my car.”
Even though police say Baltozer was not at fault, he is still overwhelmed by what happened.
“It kind of hit me,” he said. “That’s when the emotion took over. I’m still in shock. I really want to go see her and make sure she’s okay, to be honest.” Police said they they don’t expect to file any charges in the case as the victim was in the road and Baltozer didn’t break any traffic laws.
Foley’s family and the school system declined to comment.