FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A boy was struck by a vehicle while crossing East State Boulevard on the way to school early Thursday.
Police and medics were called around 7:15 a.m. to the 7200 block of East State Boulevard, outside Blackhawk Middle School, on a report of a pedestrian struck by a car, according to dispatchers. A boy was hit while in a crosswalk at East State and Busche Drive.
“There was four kids and they were coming from the north and I crossed and then I turned around and I heard a thud and this truck hit a student,” said Sylvia Weston, a FWCS crossing guard who was at the scene Thursday morning. “It’s devastating, absolutely devastating. I blame myself.”
Police told WANE 15 that the driver of a vehicle headed east on State could not see in front of him due to a vehicle ahead of him “obstructing the view.” As he approached the crosswalk, the driver said he saw the child at the last minute and could not stop in time and struck the boy, police said.
The crossing guard told WANE 15 the boy appeared to have suffered broken legs. A passerby stopped to tend to the boy before medics arrived.
The boy, who police believe is 13, was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said.
The driver was cooperating with police. The car did not immediately stop but instead drove on a bit and eventually stopped, WANE 15 learned.
FWCS Spokeswoman, Krista Stockman, says the intersection where the accident happened has been a concern for the district.
“People go pretty fast down State and they don’t always observe the speed limit and this has been one that has been on our radar as a concern. We’ve put up, from time to time, those signs that say how fast you’re going as a reminder for people, but it’s a heavily-traveled street and it is a concern.”
Stockman said students and staff members witnessed the accident, and extra counselors are being made available today for those who need them.
She also praised the crossing guards who help students get across busy roads.
“Crossing guards are critical in getting kids to school safely,” she said. “We need people to pay attention when they are around schools and watch out for kids, but those crossing guards do a great job day-to-day getting kids safely to and from their schools.”
Weston says she heard the accident happen and saw people rush to the victim’s aid, including a nurse who provided care before police and medics arrived.
She added that on foggy days, it’s even more dangerous. Weston shared this message to drivers:
“Just slow down, this is a school zone -25MPH -there are innocent kids, just kids, they don’t need to be going through this.”
Daniel Ingram, a FWPD captain who oversees Fort Wayne crossing guards said he hopes this will serve as a powerful warning to drivers to be more careful.
“Everyone, follow the crossing guards’ commands if they’re asking you to do or not do something,” said Ingram. “Please follow the commands and it would be a good idea to plan for delays or slowdowns around school zones in the mornings and afternoons.”
Ingram added that FWPD will conduct a survey of the area to see what changes can be made to prevent something like this from happening again.