A week after a 12-year-old was hit by a car while crossing Main Street to Badger Ridge Middle School, his mother has started a campaign to improve the safety of the intersection.
As a result of the incident – in which a car in the left lane stopped but a car in the right lane did not see the child crossing and kept driving – the Verona Common Council held a preliminary discussion Monday night, March 18, about the safety of the intersection of Llanos and Main streets.
The item was listed only for discussion as an overview, as part of mayor’s business. So far, no specifics have been discussed, but Mayor Luke Diaz and interim city administrator Adam Sayre said all options are on the table, including traffic signals.
“I wanted to let people know that we’re working on it,” Diaz said. “My personal view is we should do whatever we need to make that intersection safer… both in the long term and the short term.”
Theresa Langton Graewin’s son Hunter was in the hospital for two days after the accident, in which a 38-year-old Madison woman struck the child around 4:17 p.m. He suffered a concussion, she said, in addition to several visible lacerations.
“Something desperately needs to be taken care of,” she told the Press. “I’m not going to stop until it’s done.”
According to the police report, the driver is being cited for failure to yield. The report states that the driver of the van had seen Hunter at the corner and stopped driving to allow him to cross the street, but the driver of the car that hit the child was “concerned about speed and not wanting to have the (van) cross in front of her into the right lane.”
Ald. Sarah Gaskell (Dist. 2), a former chair of the Public Safety committee, told the council police need to be part of the process and crossing guards should be consulted. Gaskell also pointed out the campus will have even younger kids there in 2020, when it becomes an elementary school, making it more imperative.
“We’re still going to have people that are late, we’re still going to have people that won’t follow the rules,” she said. “It has to go hand-in-hand with enforcement, and also just a culture shift – that once you get to Verona city limits, you drive the speed limit and you observe the traffic laws.”
Hunter was at home last Friday in mostly good spirits, and he told the Press he hoped safety could be improved at the intersection, which features crossing guards before and after school to help students cross Main Street.
He said his mother asked him if she could push for more safety measures there using the story of what happened to him, and he agreed.
“I didn’t want other kids or people to get hit,” he said.