After close call in Centerville, Utah parents concerned for children in school zones

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SARATOGA SPRINGS (ABC4) – The new school year can bring new worries for parents in Utah. Many worry about their children’s safety as they walk, or bike, to school. After a close call in Northern Utah on Monday morning, police are reminding drivers and students to follow street laws in school zones.

Cars frequently race down a street in Saratoga Springs. “Cars do not follow the speed limit on Redwood Road,” Jaimee Peacock tells ABC4. “Most days, you see people blazing through the intersection at 70 miles an hour.”

“They have kids who are trying to cross in the crosswalk,” Patty Brown adds. “Fortunately, they don’t get hit, but the car will go just as the child passes over their bumper.”

Peacock and Brown are both parents of middle schoolers in Saratoga Springs. They’re worried about careless drivers ignoring the school zones along the busy street where their children cross daily. They tell ABC4 a group of parents is working to get the school district and the city to add more safety precautions along busy streets near the schools.

“I’m wondering if today is the day a child is going to get hit,” Peacock states. The fears of the parents in Saratoga became reality for parents in Centerville on Monday morning.

Centerville Police Department Spokesperson Lt. Allen Ackerson tells ABC4 that two 12-year-old boys were riding their bikes to Centerville Junior High. He says the boys told police they were running a little late and were riding as fast as they could.

When the two boys got to the intersection of Main St. and Porter Lane, they rode their bicycles into the crosswalk. Lt. Ackerson says at the same time a minivan failed to yield at a stop sign while turning right, “so the minivan struck the two boys pushing them off of their bikes and onto the ground.”

Lt. Ackerson says the police department is glad this accident didn’t turn into a tragedy. He adds, “They were very lucky. Neither were wearing helmets, but they were able to walk away from it.” Lt. Ackerson explains the boys had minor cuts and bruises when police arrived.

Lt. Ackerson explains that after taking statements, police concluded that both the driver and the boys were at fault. He says no charges are being filed.

The police department is using this near-tragedy to give safety tips.

They ask parents to help teach their children the following:

-To learn to recognize traffic signals

-To always walk across intersections

-To get off their bicycles and walk them across intersections

-To pay attention to the road when crossing

Along with kids, the police department is asking drivers to adhere to the following:

-To watch for school zones and slow down

-To always stop for buses

-To follow school drop-off and pick-up rules

-To never make u-turns, pass, or change lanes in a school zone

-To obey crossing guards

“We escaped this one with just some scrapes and bruises,” says Lt. Ackerson. “We hope that’s all that we have for this school year.”

In addition, Lt. Ackerson tells ABC4 drivers need to be aware of the stricter law that comes with school zone crosswalks. These crosswalks are marked with broad, repeating white lines resembling piano keys. Lt. Ackerson explains that according to state law, drivers must come to a complete stop when a person is in this type of crosswalk and stay stopped until that person is completely off the roadway.

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