KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WNCN) — Traffic lights have been modified at an intersection on the Outer Banks where a 12-year-old girl on her bicycle was hit by an SUV and later died in November, officials say.
Bri “Bri Bri” Blumenthal was hit on Nov. 23 while she was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Veterans Drive and Oceans Bay Boulevard in Kill Devil Hills.
Bri, who was in the 6th grade, was flown from the scene to the hospital with life-threatening injuries and died a few days later on Thanksgiving Day.
A driver of an SUV was charged in the deadly crash after she drove through a red light at that intersection, officials said.
The driver said that she was unable to see the color of the traffic light because the sun blinded her.
On Monday, NC DOT crews installed “back plates” to each light at the intersection, which should help with the sun issue at the intersection, officials said.
“We just wanted to address the issue of the sun blindness as soon as we could,” DOT officials said.
Scotty Blumenthal, Bri’s dad, said he spoke to the driver of the SUV. He said he believes the crash was an accident, and he has no ill will toward the driver.
On his Facebook page he said, “There is enough suffering in this situation and I know Bri and her huge heart would not want this woman to suffer any more than she already is.”
The community rallied behind “Bri Bri” while she was in the hospital for several days — with many prayer circles held for her. There was also a small memorial placed at the scene of the crash.
In the post about her death, her father showed thanks to the Outer Banks community for their support.
Scotty Blumenthal started a foundation to make sure every child on the Outer Banks has a helmet for their bike.
The traffic light change came after members of the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners and Town staff reached out to NC transportation officials to implement potential solutions to increase the safety of the intersection.
“It is great to see that in the wake of such tragedy, NCDOT is working to quickly to respond and address safety concerns expressed by our citizens.” KIll Devil Hills Mayor Mayor Sheila Davies said.
The NC DOT said there could be other improvements made at the intersection.