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Pedestrian Safety

Two Middle School Students in Hospital After Crosswalk Collision

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Two Pleasant Hill Middle School students, both girls, were sent to the hospital with serious injuries today when a woman driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser struck both of them in a striped crosswalk. The crash threw one of the girls onto the hood of the vehicle, cracking its windshield. Despite sustaining serious injuries, they were expected to survive.

The girls, both aged 13, had been walking on an East Bay Municipal Utility District trail on their way to school when they reached the marked crosswalk between Eccleston and Manor Avenues around 8 a.m. The driver, who remained at the scene, told police she didn't stop for the girls because her vision was impaired by the sun's glare, according to Pleasant Hill Police Cpl. Matt Kristic. He said she did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but the victims undoubtedly had the right-of-way at the crossing. The speed limit on Oak Park Boulevard where the girls were struck is 25 miles per hour.

The collision comes amid a growing national conversation about providing safe routes for children to walk to school, barely a week before International Walk to School Day.

Students and teachers were shaken up by the violent collision. From CBS5's report:

Staff members from Pleasant Hill Middle School, which is about a block from where the accident happened, responded to the scene and helped police contact the girls' parents.

Crisis counselors were at the school to help students and teachers cope with what happened and the school's principal was planning to send out an automated phone or email message to let parents of all students at the school know what happened, Dick Nicoll, interim superintendent of the Mount Diablo Unified School District, said.

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