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Child Hit In Front of School

Child Hit In Front of School

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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingAn eight-year old was hit by a car in front of his school in West Haven. Now his family is questioning if the school's crosswalks are enough to keep kids safe. The boy was trying to cross the street on his scooter to get to his sister who was waiting to pick him up.

The little boy was taken to Primary Children’s Hospital after being hit and then dragged. The driver was not going fast. In fact, police say the boy darted out in front of her car; he didn't have a crosswalk. But the family says some tough questions still need to be asked.

Eight-year-old Daniel Pelaez has been in the hospital since last Monday afternoon when he was hit crossing the street right in front of his school.

John Pilmer, Daniel's Uncle: “He was struck by an SUV and drug for a number of feet."

He was cut on his face and body and his ankle was crushed, the skin scraped down to the bone. While doctors are Primary Children's work on grafting it back his family is wondering how this could happen.

John Pilmer: “There's some confusion as to where children should be crossing the street. The normal thought process for a child would be to cross the street in front of their school."

But that's not where the crosswalk is at Country View Elementary. In fact, the main crosswalk is quite a ways down the street.

Karen Neiswender, Country View Elementary Principal: “Most of our students live east of that crosswalk, we have lots of neighborhoods. We don't have very many students that would need to cross right here."

Years ago a crosswalk was used there by the school, but it's very faded now. The school has considered repainting it, but there's no sidewalk on the other side of the street, so they really don't want to encourage kids to cross there.

The school says they also have a protocol parents are supposed to follow.

Principal Karen Neiswender: “The procedure is to come into the parking lot, either park and walk over and pick up your child, or pull up against the curb."

Daniel's sister hadn't followed pick-up protocol, but other families do the same thing. Daniel's family just wants to make sure it doesn't happen again.

John Pilmer: “They're considering and wondering if there should be more significant crossing guards, lights, crosswalks in front of this specific school."

The school says they've talked with law enforcement and their city councilwoman about possibly getting flashing lights or a crossing guard closer to the school. They also have a safety committee that looks at this issue every year; they say they'll be having another meeting soon.

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