A petition to add a guardrail to Frye Road is gaining steam after a crash into a south-side pond killed one Franklin Central High School student and hospitalized three others.
Ella Magyar, 16, died Saturday night at Community South Hospital after being pulled from the backseat of a vehicle that crashed into a retention pond in the 7800 block of Ashtree Drive shortly before 7 p.m.
Magyar was a passenger in the car driven by a 17-year-old. Two other 16-year-olds were also in the vehicle when it plunged into the water.
The Change.org petition was created in the wake of the crash. As of Monday afternoon, more than 8,700 people have signed in support of the effort.
“After the tragedy that took place on the evening of June 27, the safety of drivers is shown to be at risk,” reads the petition’s description. “Even though the speed limit is 20-30 depending on the turns and curves on the road, guardrails should be placed for the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike.”
The petition to Marion County officials says that guardrails would have redirected the students’ vehicle back onto the road and saved Magyar’s life.
According to the Indianapolis Fire Department, witnesses said they saw the car heading west on Frye Road at a high rate of speed when it left the road, hit a tree and went into the pond.
IFD divers located the car wheels down in about 12 feet of water 35 feet from the shore.
Magyar and a 16-year-old boy were trapped in the backseat of the car after it went into the water. The boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The 17-year-old driver and a 16-year-old sitting in the front passenger seat were able to escape the vehicle on their own. They were both taken to the hospital in good condition.
Upon arrival, IMPD Officer Jared Allen dove into the water and pulled Magyar from the backseat of the car at 7:05 p.m. He swam back to the vehicle and pulled the 16-year-old boy from the car at 7:08 p.m.
Allen, 25, has been with the IMPD for three years. He told firefighters he was comfortable in the water because he had been a collegiate swimmer.
“I just wanted to get out there and get to them. I did not know how long they had already been in the water,” Allen told Fox59. “We did everything we could. I just wish it had a better outcome than it did.”
Three other IMPD officers assisted with the rescues, but did not go underwater.
Franklin Central High School officials confirmed that all four teens in the car were students at the school. Magyar was an incoming junior.
“The tragic loss of such a beloved member of our school community will undoubtedly lead to feelings and questions we are not used to encountering,” school officials said in a Facebook post Sunday night. “It is completely understandable to have feelings of sadness, disbelief, and even anger. It is okay to cry; it is okay to be emotional.
“Together, we can work through this. Together, we can honor Ella’s memory and help our Flashes that are still hospitalized.”
Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at 317-444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.