According to Colusa Police Officer Luis Ruiz, officers were dispatched to a report of a traffic collision involving a vehicle and three pedestrians at around 8:14 AM last Tuesday, Oct. 16.
When officers responded, they learned that the 32-year-old mother, her 8-year-old daughter, and 5-year-old son were walking in the crosswalk at the intersection of Fifth Street and Fremont Street when they were struck by a car traveling east-bound on Fremont.
The mother and the daughter suffered what Ruiz said appeared to be minor injuries, and the son was not injured. Colusa Police Chief Josh Fitch said that the mother and daughter were transported by ambulance to Colusa Medical Center, where they were treated and released.
Ruiz said that it appeared that the driver of the vehicle was traveling at or under the posted speed limit of 25 mph, and that the glare of the sun was a major contributing factor in the driver not seeing the three pedestrians crossing the street.
“If you’re driving down eastbound (Fremont Street) at that time, it’s hard to see because the glare of the sun is in your eyes,” Ruiz said. He added that the driver had their sun visor down at the time of the accident, which further cut down on visibility.
The Colusa Police Department has since increased its presence on Fremont Street during the morning hours, when parents are dropping their kids off at school. But the department’s ability to have an presence near the schools is currently hampered by it’s low staffing levels.
“While we provide resources to all of the schools (in the city) in the mornings, due to current staffing levels, we are unable to have the presence we would really like to around the schools,” Fitch said.
In a statement sent to parents on Tuesday, Burchfield Principal Jesse Rodriguez said that the accident needed to serve as a reminder for motorists to drive safely in school zones.
“One of our parents and her two children were struck by a vehicle as they attempted to cross Fremont St. to arrive on our campus,” Burchfield Principal Jesse Rodriguez said in the statement. “They were using the crosswalk and had activated the crosswalk lights. This accident is a reminder of the precautions we need to take when driving through a school zone.”
Those precautions, Rodriguez said, include: recognizing school zones; reducing speed when driving through school zones; expecting increased traffic in and around school zones; and being aware of pedestrian crosswalks in school zones.
“This notice is a reminder (that) we should always be defensive drivers aware of our surroundings when driving through school zones,” Rodriguez said. “As pedestrians, please take extra precautions when using crosswalks. Look both ways before crossing and be sure traffic has come to a complete stop. Our goal is the safety of all our families walking and driving to and from school.”