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WEST VALLEY CITY — A seventh-grade student critically injured after he was struck by a vehicle outside of a middle school Tuesday morning was placed in a medically-induced coma but was stabilized following surgery later in the afternoon, Granite School District and authorities said.
West Valley police tweeted the boy had been stabilized, while the district's spokesman Ben Horsley said the boy was placed in a medically-induced coma. The district tweeted out the next 24 hours "will be critical."
The student, a 13-year-old boy, was struck outside of Kennedy Junior High School, located at 4495 S. 4800 West, around 7:30 a.m. shortly before classes began, Horsely said.
The boy was originally transported to Primary Children's Hospital in serious condition, according to West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Johnson. West Valley police tweeted the boy suffered head trauma and was downgraded to critical condition at the hospital prior to the surgery.
Johnson said the boy was not in a crosswalk and that the driver of the vehicle told police they did not see the boy. There is a lighted crosswalk in front of the school.
The boy was new to the school after transferring from another school in the district in October, Horsley said. He added that other students may have witnessed the crash and that counselors would be available for students, faculty or even parents who may need them.
"There's a lot of somber mood in the school. We're very concerned for him and his family, and for the driver as well," Horsley said, holding back tears. "We've had a handful of students come down and get assistance but we've actually had a number of adults requesting help, as well.
"These are our kids. We care about them just as much as their families do in some instances," he added. "We're all a big family here — our thoughts and prayers are with their family."
The crash remains under investigation. Police closed both directions of 4800 West outside of the school as a part of the investigation for a few hours. The road reopened around 11:30 a.m.
Dense fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash but police ruled that it did not factor in the crash.
Tuesday's auto-pedestrian crash was the second outside one of the district's schools within the past week. A similar incident outside of Hillside Elementary, also in West Valley, occurred on Thursday, where a 7-year-old boy was walking just outside a crosswalk when he was struck by a driver who didn't see him.
Horsley said that boy was released from a hospital Monday but was in a wheelchair recovering from "significant injuries."
Tuesday's crash was a "grim reminder" of the importance of using designated crosswalks, Horsley added.
"(It's) something that we will be reviewing with all students," he said. "We would encourage parents to talk to their kids, no matter if they're apart of Granite School District or not. Take the time and make sure to remind them that it's not worth saving the time to endanger yourself, that you make sure you utilize crosswalks and the other tools and resources available to help keep you safe."
This story will be updated as soon as more information is made available.
Contributing: Mary Richards
Editor's note: Granite School District originally reported the injured student was an eighth-grader. District officials later corrected that information to show he was a seventh-grade student.