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Hancock mother looking to take Michigan’s “Elisha’s Law” to the national level

On Valentine’s Day 1989, 6-year-old Elisha Kitchen from Hancock exited her school bus and was struck by a car that ignored the red flashing lights.
Elisha Kitchen
Elisha Kitchen(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 25, 2020 at 5:31 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - On Valentine’s Day 1989, 6-year-old Elisha Kitchen from Hancock exited her school bus and was struck by a car that ignored the red flashing lights.

“Elisha was lucky that she survived. Her injuries were not compatible with life, and she remained the rest of her life paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without the use of a ventilator,” Elisha’s mother, Diane Kitchen, said.

In September, at the age of 37, Elisha died of complications from the accident which occurred over 30 years ago.

However, Elisha and her mother spent Elisha’s life ensuring this didn’t happen to anyone else, and in 1998, the state of Michigan passed “Elisha’s Law.”

“It would have been a misdemeanor and the fine would have only been up to $100. So, the best we were able to get through with this is if the fine could be up to $500, community service, and points on the license.”

However, Diane says more needs to be done.

“More education to the public whether it’s when you get your drivers license or during school of just people speaking about it, and I’d like to see the fines get extremely high.”

According to Diane, Elisha watched the school bus issue worsen nationally over time and is working towards making the penalty higher and getting “Elisha’s Law” to the national level.

“And now that she’s no longer here, the time is available for me to go out and keep up with this which I believe is her legacy.”

And as school remains in session, be on the lookout for buses, give yourself extra time to travel, and remind yourself that red means stop.

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