MAGNA — A 12-year-old girl was hospitalized in critical condition Monday after being struck in a crosswalk near her junior high school.
The girl was crossing the street around 7:30 a.m. on a crosswalk near Scott M. Matheson Junior High at 3500 South and Montclair Street (7720 West) when she was hit by a 17-year-old Cyprus High School student, Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson said.
The girl was thrown 50 feet and transported by ambulance to an area hospital in critical condition. Hutson said she was conscious when she was transported.
The 17-year-old boy told police he didn't see the girl. Police do not believe speed was a factor in the accident.
"We know (the driver) was on the phone," Hutson said. "I don't know if he was on the phone at the exact time he struck this young lady but he was on the phone right before, speaking with his grandmother."
Area residents said this is the second accident in the same area in the past few months. A second teenager was struck by a van using the same crosswalk in August.
Ben Horsley, a spokesman for Granite School District, said that while the school district works closely with local law enforcement, the safety concerns of that crosswalk are an issue that largely falls on the Unified Police Department to resolve. He said they are the ones who activate the lights in the area and who would be responsible for posting a crossing guard there.
"We're education experts," Horsley said. "We don't handle traffic safety and don't claim to know much about that, but we do want to work with local law enforcement to provide safe means for students to get to our schools."
Horsley said they already discourage use of that crosswalk and require parents and guardians to sign something similar to a waiver that says they will ensure that their child has a safe way to get to school. He said only 30 to 35 students have to utilize that crosswalk.
"We have (the girl's) address listed as being pretty far south," he said. "I don't know why she was crossing 3500 South there in the first place."
But Horsley wanted to make it clear that the school district isn't trying to shirk responsibility and will work to make the crossing less dangerous in the future.
"We don't want to be the ones passing the buck here," he said. "We certainly want to work with local law enforcement to try and find a way to resolve this."
At this point, though, the focus is on the girl.
"This is a student of ours and we're obviously very weary about her condition and for her family," he said. "Her and her family continues to be in our thoughts and prayers."
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