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Injury to Student Prompts Call for School Zone Safety Review

Longfellow seventh-grader suffered broken leg when driver passed car stopped for crossing guard.

Ald. Bobby Pantuso called Wednesday for a review of school zone safety after an accident Monday morning that left a student with a broken leg.

A school crossing guard was in position just after 7:30 a.m. on Wauwatosa Avenue at West Wright Street with a handheld stop sign and had stopped one southbound car while the 12-year-old boy was crossing. Another southbound driver failed to see the crossing guard and passed the stopped car on the right, striking the boy, according to Wauwatosa police.

The driver, a 55-year-old woman, told police she thought the car was stopped to make a left turn. She said she drove that route nearly every day and was aware that it is a school zone.

Another driver going south behind her said she did see the crossing guard enter the street to halt traffic with his stop sign in clear view, assisting the boy. She described seeing the accident, saying the boy did a "complete flip in the air before hitting the ground."

The boy was taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where he was treated for a compound fracture. He told police that he waited until the crossing guard had stopped traffic and motioned for him to cross. When he saw the car headed for him, he said, all he could do was close his eyes and look away.

The driver was issued a municipal citation for passing a vehicle stopped for a pedestrian.

Pantuso, who represents the 5th District, wrote to the mayor, police chief, school superintendent and members of the city's Traffic and Safety Committee asking that a discussion be started about how such accidents can be better prevented. He also cited a June accident in front of Eisenhower Elementary School in which a 4, suffering slight injuries.

"It is time for the city and the Wauwatosa School District to come together and form a plan to implement prevention measures. We cannot afford for this to happen again," he wrote.

City Administrator Jim Archambo responded quickly that he would forward Pantuso's concerns to the city clerk for inclusion on the agenda of the next Traffic and Safety meeting on Nov. 29.

Archambo also said that the city was working with the school district on safety issues on West Center Street fronting Eisenhower, and . The city has sent out a request for proposals for a safety evaluation of the corridor, he said.

Tosamom November 11, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Congratulations Ald. Pantuso for watching out and caring for the youngest of your constituency. I hope the rest of the council sits up and takes notice for a job well done. Who knows. . . Maybe even the mayor will call and thank you.
John November 16, 2011 at 06:22 AM
I suppose this story is already a bit old, but as the father of the child who was struck it is going to last a while for us. My son is recovering and he will probably go back to school next week or the following. He will have one more surgery in about 6 months to remove the hardware in his leg. This morning I recorded some of the traffic at the crosswalk where my son was struck: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8loomDuHTE The video doesn't show anyone ignoring the crossing guard, but does show a rather common practice of passing cars stopped at the crosswalk. Not seen in the video, but the police were active in this area during the time I was present and I did see them pull over two vehicles for passing cars while the crossing guard had stopped traffic. Hopefully something can be done to make this area safer for pedestrians.
Garden Diva November 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM
After watching the video, it appears that an easy solution is to not allow left turns at that intersection during a specified time. That would certainly prevent drivers from going around the stopped cars that they think may be turning left when in reality they may be stopped for a pedestrian and not know it.
Jeff November 21, 2011 at 07:18 PM
In my last sentence of my comment, I was referring to westbound traffic. Jeff.
Jenny Smith December 08, 2011 at 06:21 PM
I am a parent who drops her son off at Longfellow daily. I will drop him off in the front if I am able to pull all the way over to the curb, if not we go to the back of the school. A common problem among drivers is speed and ignorance. I'm not sure of the fix for current drivers who feel annoyed by slowing down for humans crossing in front of them but I do know that I will teach, by practice, my children how to drive with consideration. Instead of parking checkers giving silly parking tickets we need them to give tickets to drivers who don't slow down in crosswalks!

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