A Kutztown girl, 12, was struck by a car while walking to school Jan. 23 and is reported to be doing well.
The girl sustained apparent non-life threatening injuries, according to Kutztown Police.
“She walked into the street without looking,” Kutztown Police Chief Craig Summers told The Patriot.
At 7:32 a.m. on Jan. 23, Julie Kerr, 21, N.J., was driving south on the 400 block of Noble Street in Kutztown when her Suzuki Reno struck a 12-year-old girl walking to school, according to a Kutztown Police report.
Upon impact with the front of the vehicle, the girl hit the windshield and was carried about 80 feet and then fell when the vehicle came to a stop, according to the report.
Emergency personnel arrived to find the girl face down in the snow along the side of the road.
The girl was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest.
Summers and Kutztown Superintendent Kathy Metrick could not release the name or condition of the student who was struck by the vehicle.
Metrick was able to confirm that the girl is a middle school student and, “at last report, was doing well.”
When asked what the district does to address student safety while walking to school, Metrick responded, “We have many students who walk to school and have not had a prior incident of this nature. We stress safe walking and traffic behaviors especially with our younger students. Many of our elementary students who walk are accompanied by an adult. Walking on the sidewalks of Kutztown is very safe. Intersections close to the borough schools are monitored by crossing guards who help ensure student safety.”
Metrick said the district encourages parents to reinforce safe walking and crossing practices.
“While this accident did not occur in a school zone, we do caution drivers to be very aware of the school zone signs we have posted near all of our schools. The signs do not have flashing lights, but they do restrict speeds to 15 mph during periods of time at the beginning and end of the day to ensure student safety. It is imperative that drivers abide by these speed limits in the marked school zones,” said Metrick. “As I said, this caution does NOT apply to this accident.”
“The most important thing is that it appears that this young lady will be fine. That is what matters,” said Metrick.
Summers offered a statement regarding students walking to school and their safety.
“Use sidewalks when available. If none are available always walk facing traffic. Cross at an intersection, not mid-block,” said Summers. “We employ school crossing guards who wear high visibility uniforms and they are stationed at high traffic areas to safely cross students.”
His advice for walking students is to “always be aware of your surroundings, look both ways when crossing the roadway. Do not wear headphones when walking as you cannot hear the vehicles.”
His advice for drivers?
“When you see a pedestrian walking along side the road, you should slow down and, if possible, give them extra space as you pass them,” said Summers.
Police report that no charges are anticipated for the driver of the vehicle.
Summers said the snowy conditions did not contribute to the accident.