Another distracted driver runs down a Tucson family in a crosswalk
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- A mother and her two young children run down in a crosswalk. It happened Tuesday night on 29th and Venice street. Tucson police said they are in stable condition but they haven't released their names yet.
Tucson Police told KGUN9 the driver is an 'elderly' man and he is cooperating with them. The initial investigation shows he was distracted and he is not facing any criminal charges, although he could still face a civil citation.
Just outside his apartment, Aron Haney told KGUN9 he watched the mother and her two young children enter the 29th Street crosswalk. "The mother waited until all the cars stopped before she started to cross the street," said Haney.
But he said as the family approached the curb on the other side of the street, one driver blew right through the crosswalk and hit the mother and two children. "He didn't step on his brakes or anything. He was going full force," said Haney, "There were no tires skidmarks or anything."
Betty Beauchemin lives next to the crosswalk and describes what she saw after the accident. "And it ripped his mirror off on the side and I think his windshield was broke from it. So he must have hit her to knock her that far. I don't know how far it would be. From the crosswalk right where the gutter is on the cement," said Beauchemin.
Haney said he tried to help the mother and children until paramedics arrived. "I was in shock. You know I have three kids of my own that I walk to school every morning and we use crosswalks in this area." Haney said he will no longer use that crosswalk.
Beauchemin said she uses that crosswalk all the time and too many drivers are not reading the sign placed just inches from the crosswalk. KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos asked Beauchermin, 'How often have you had near misses?" She replied, "Probably a half a dozen at least. It's really bad."
Roy Garcia owns an auto shop on the corner of the 29th and Venice street intersection. He says he's not shocked that a family was hit by a car at this crosswalk. Cavazos asked Garcia, "Have their been any close calls?" He answered, "Yeah, there have been close calls. We've heard a lot of tires screaching."
Cavazos: "If you see a car stopped at a crosswalk what would you normally do it you were coming from the other side?"
Garcia: "I would definitely stop. If a car stopped in the middle of the road. He stopped for a reason. Common sense is going to tell you hey, something is going on keep your eyes open at least."
Cavazos: "Do you know if that's part of traffic laws."
Garcia: "If not, it should be."
Tucson Police Department Capt. Bob Shoun is head of the city's Pedestrian Task Force. He said after spending several months examining every fatal pedestrian accident and others, they've developed a public awareness campaign for both motorists and pedestrians to drive the safety message home. He said drivers need to understand that distractions can cost other people their lives and pedestrians should never think a driver will always stop at a crosswalk.
He said a video PSA is airing on the city's channel and they are sending out printed materials as well.