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“Even after five years, it’s still hard but you still got to keep going,” Kayla’s mother, Gloria Mongold said. “It’s hard to see all of her friends grow up and get to do all of things but you just got to keep going.”
Joseph Thomson, 30, lost control of his SUV, went off the road and hit Kayla as she was walking with a friend. His license had been suspended and he was on probation for a heroin charge out of Montgomery County. He also had alcohol in his system, although it was below the legal limit, according to Clark County court records.
Thomson was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He had been caught driving without a license or while it was under suspension eight previous times.
The week after her daughter’s death, Gloria Mongold started a petition to erect a guardrail and install sidewalks on North Murray Street where the roadway curves at Chestnut Avenue.
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Now the city has received grant money to install sidewalks at the location from the Ohio Department of Transportation, Springfield City Engineer Leo Shanayda.
The cost of the project is a little more than $77,000 and he said it will cover about a block.
The project was bid out and awarded to A & B Asphalt of Springfield. Construction will begin soon, Shanayda said, and the project should be finished before the end of the year.
Gloria Mongold is happy about the news. She believes the addition will make the area safer for people, including other children.
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“They have to ride their bikes, skate, roller skate, whatever, and a lot of them do it in the street because there’s no sidewalks,” she said. “It’s all grass.”
Springfield homeowner Peggy Jones has lived on Mount Vernon Avenue for the past 70 years. The road turns into North Murray Street. As long as she lived in the area, there’s never been sidewalks.
She’s glad to learn they’re finally being put in because Kayla’s death hit close to home for her. That’s because she had been a substitute teacher for Springfield City Schools.
“She had been one of my students at one of the middle schools I had gone to, so I did know her,” Jones said.
The former teacher also said she would love to see more sidewalks in the area.
“My family would be more than happy to incur the expense of putting the sidewalk there if it’s going to save a life,” Jones said.
Gloria Mongold has been pushing for sidewalks for some time.
“At least it’s going in. We knew it was going to take a while. It’s been five years since she passed away, four years since we asked for the sidewalks,” Gloria Mongold said.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of the death of Kayla Mongold and her mother’s efforts to make the area safer in the past five years, including stories digging into the driver’s history of suspended licenses and a petition to add sidewalks where the girl was killed.