Cross­walk where boys were hit to get new warn­ing lights

Tri-City Herald - - Front Page - BY CAMERON PROBERT cprobert@tric­i­ty­her­


Rich­land po­lice closed Jad­win Av­enue to con­tinue in­ves­ti­gat­ing a crash that sent two boys to the hos­pi­tal af­ter they were hit by a car.

A busy Rich­land in­ter­sec­tion where two broth­ers were hit by a car while walk­ing in a cross­walk Tues­day evening al­ready had been tar­geted by the city for new safety lights.

How­ever, those lights won’t be in­stalled un­til the spring.

The boys, ages 9 and 12, live in an apart­ment com­plex nearby, said To­ma­lin Bailie, a mother of one of the boys’ friends.

Walk­ing home from a bas­ket­ball game shortly be­fore 5 p.m., they paused at the cross­walk across Jad­win Av­enue at Wil­son Street and saw two trucks stop on the four-lane road, then started to cross, Of­fi­cer Eric Ed­wards said.

A man driv­ing a gray Mus­tang head­ing south on the busy street didn’t no­tice the trucks stopped un­til it was too late. He slammed on his brakes as the boys stepped out from be­hind one of the trucks leav­ing a skid mark on the road and into the in­ter­sec­tion.

The driver stopped and sev­eral wit­nesses rushed to help the boys.

Bailie was in her nearby house and heard some com­mo­tion. She ran to the in­ter­sec­tion and held one of the boys’ hands un­til they could be taken to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

“I am sure they were in a cross­walk,” she said. “They’re not trou­ble­mak­ers in any kind of way. ... I know those kids were far from the cross­walk when I got there.”

Both were taken to a hos­pi­tal with bro­ken bones, and one suf­fered a se­ri­ous head in­jury. One was flown to Spokane and is in the In­ten­sive Care Unit.

The driver is co­op­er­at­ing with po­lice and there is no sign he was drunk, or on drugs, Ed­wards said.

Coun­selors were sent to Chief Joseph Mid­dle School and Jef­fer­son El­e­men­tary where the boys were stu­dents to help their friends with ques­tions or con­cerns, said Ty Beaver, the school dis­trict’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor.

Po­lice closed Jad­win Av­enue be­tween Chief Joseph Mid­dle School and Van Giesen Street for about an hour Wed­nes­day morn­ing while they in­ves­ti­gated and took mea­sure­ments in the day­light.

It’s an in­ter­sec­tion that’s had prob­lems be­fore — Bailie said it’s where many stu­dents cross

to nearby schools — and the city just re­ceived a grant to put in safety lights.

The four-lane road car­ries about 10,000 ve­hi­cles a day, which makes it busy, though only a quar­ter as busy as the south end of Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Way or Columbia Cen­ter Boule­vard.

The dis­trict and city are work­ing to­gether on the $81,000 project, which also in­cludes more cross­ing lights and flash­ing school zone speed limit signs at White Bluffs El­e­men­tary School.

Bailie said that the cross­ing at the Fed­eral Build­ing has warn­ing lights, and other Rich­land cross­walks have orange flags that peo­ple can carry as they cross the street to catch the at­ten­tion of driv­ers.

She asked peo­ple driv­ing through the area to slow down and be care­ful.

Rich­land and the school dis­trict re­ceived money from the Wash­ing­ton Traf­fic Safety Com­mis­sion about a month ago to add two sets of flash­ing cross­walk lights at Chief Joseph Mid­dle School, said John De­skins, a traf­fic en­gi­neer with the city.

They just started shop­ping for the lights, and planned to put them up dur­ing spring break.

The in­ter­sec­tion as well as cross­walk on the north en­trance to the mid­dle school caught the city’s at­ten­tion dur­ing a safety re­view.

“There wasn’t a spike in crashes that I know of,” De­skins said. “It did stand out be­cause it’s a fourlane road and has two cross­walks. It seemed like an im­por­tant lo­ca­tion to add some lights.”

If the city can get the lights up faster, they will, De­skins said. How­ever, there is a long lead time to re­serve equip­ment, and find­ing a con­trac­tor and work­ing around school sched­ules likely will push in­stal­la­tion back into the spring.

While Bailie is happy about the lights, she is dis­ap­pointed that they won’t be go­ing in un­til spring break.

With the time change, De­skins and Ed­wards asked driv­ers and pedes­tri­ans to be care­ful on the roads.

BOB BRAWDY Tri-City Her­ald

Rich­land po­lice Of­fi­cer Eric Ed­wards with the traf­fic safety unit works with city of Rich­land sur­veyor Tom Boshart on Wed­nes­day at the in­ter­sec­tion where two boys, 9, and 12, were hit by a car Tues­day night. De­tec­tive Da­mon Jansen fol­lows be­hind tak­ing pho­tos of the scene on Jad­win Av­enue at Wil­son Street. Watch a video at tric­i­ty­her­

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