Crosswalk where Janesville teen hit draws scrutiny

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Frank Schultz
Friday, January 4, 2013

— Authorities are considering the safety of a crosswalk in front of a Janesville middle school after a truck ran into a student there Wednesday morning.

Carly Olin, 13, suffered a concussion but returned to school Thursday, her mother, Laurie Olin, told The Gazette.

District spokesman Brett Berg said students' safety is a top priority, but he noted that the city, not the schools, controls crosswalks and crossing guards.

Yolanda Cargile, the school district's director of student services, will discuss the incident with police "to determine if any changes should be proposed to the city of Janesville regarding crosswalks," Berg said.

John Olsen, Janesville deputy police chief, said such incidents always are reviewed.

"When we get accidents like this, if there is something we can do to improve the safety of the kids up there, we certainly would," Olsen said.

The crosswalk in question is in front of Franklin Middle School's main entrance. No accidents have been reported there in the past four years, Olsen said, but the city has received complaints about speeding there.

The crosswalk is painted white across the four lanes of Crosby Avenue in front of the school, where Alexandria Place makes a "T" with Crosby.

"Something should be done," Laurie Olin said.

Maybe a crossing guard, she suggested.

A crossing guard is stationed about 200 feet to the north, at the intersection of Mineral Point and Crosby avenues, along with traffic lights and walk-light buttons.

Another crossing guard is stationed at Crosby and Bond Place, on the far southern edge of the school property.

Traffic typically is heavy before and after school on Crosby Avenue, which also is a major route to Parker High School.

Olsen said students are encouraged to cross with the crossing guards, but many students use the crossing in front of the school, and parents often are seen waving their children across.

"It obviously would be safer if they went up to Mineral Point or down to Bond Place," Olsen said.

Laurie agreed.

Laurie said her daughter suffered bruises to her hip and elbow and some scrapes. She walked with a limp Thursday, but she wanted to go back to school.

The school was providing a soft chair and allowing her to use her cellphone to call home at any time, Laurie said.

Carly doesn't remember all the details, but she told her mother she remembers being hit and then seeing the truck's tires coming at her and hoping they wouldn't hit her. They didn't.

Carly and a friend waited a long time at the crosswalk, Laurie said, and finally cars and a bus stopped, and drivers motioned for them to proceed.

It appears the truck was in another lane, going in the same direction as the bus but did not stop. Police cited the driver for failure to yield. A police report on the accident was not available Thursday.

Laurie said she's a nurse, but when it comes to her own daughter, her professional detachment went out the window.

"I kept crying all day because I knew how bad it could've been," Laurie said.

But Carly helped: "She's just like, ‘Mom, I'm right here. I'm OK.' She comforted me."

Laurie said Thursday that Carly had a new plan for crossing the street: "She said tonight when she leaves school she's going with the crossing guard."

Last updated: 8:06 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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