A young girl was hit by a car Wednesday morning while crossing the street in front of Ellison Park Elementary School in Layton.
The girl was not seriously injured, but the incident marked the second time in three weeks that a student was involved in an auto-pedestrian accident on that same road while walking to school.
Many parents say they are outraged because the city won't provide a crossing guard for the busy road.
"I am absolutely furious," said Kelly Grove, whose twins attend the school. "I just don't know what it's going to take for them to start protecting our kids. I'm afraid it may take a death."
Ellison Park principal Chuck Johnson also expressed grave concern over the matter.
"We are very, very concerned. Extremely concerned. I can't tell you how concerned I am," he said.
The problem is the school does not qualify for a crossing guard under the formula used by the city.
Layton Assistant Police Chief Craig Gibson said that he understood the concerns of parents and why they were upset. "Unfortunately, a crossing guard would not have prevented this," he said.
The girl, who attends second grade, tried to cross the road 240 feet away from the crosswalk, Gibson said.
Nevertheless, Gibson said the city would continue working with the school to re-evaluate the situation and see if a crossing guard is warranted.
Ellison Park is a new school at the end of Cold Creek Road, a dead-end street. In fact, Gibson said it's the only structure on the road. All the parents who drop off their children have to drive on it to get in or out of the school, and the large majority of students who walk have to cross the road to get to the school.
Three weeks ago, a third-grade boy was also hit by a car while going to school. He was in the crosswalk, Johnson said. In both cases, he said the vehicles were moving slowly and the boy and girl were "bumped." They each suffered minor injuries and did not need to be taken to the hospital.
Since the beginning of the school year, Johnson and parents have petitioned the city several times for a crossing guard. Under a formula created by the Utah Department of Transportation, however, the school did not qualify, Gibson said. The last survey conducted by a traffic engineer on the school was just a month ago.
Gibson said a new survey was actually scheduled for today but was rescheduled for a week from now because of the accident. Officials fear the number of students driven to school and those who walk may be skewed because of Wednesday's accident which may prompt more parents to drive their children for a day or two.
"That is a school's worst nightmare," Johnson said, "that a student will be injured either at school or on their way to school. We're very concerned about that."
The crosswalk is well marked and has red flags for students to carry across, but Johnson said a crossing guard is still needed. He was on the phone with the city after the accident again Wednesday, pushing for one, he said.
Gibson said the city wouldn't mind doing another traffic survey.
"We're not unhappy to provide a crossing guard," he said.But if the school still doesn't qualify even after another survey is conducted, Gibson suggested volunteers. Anyone can volunteer to act as a crossing guard, he said. Gibson said the police department is happy to train people who want to become volunteer crossing guards and supply them the proper equipment.
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