Prineville PD reviewing accident at high school

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: February 09. 2007 5:00AM PST

The Prineville Police Department is still investigating an accident Wednesday night in which two students are thought to have sustained nonlife-threatening injuries after being struck by a car in front of Crook County High School.

The accident may highlight the issue of school traffic safety for many parents, as the Crook County School District’s Facilities Committee continues an overall review of school buildings and locations.

The students, a boy and a girl, both 15, were hit in the crosswalk at Southeast Lynn Boulevard and Southeast Knowledge Street at around 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release from the Prineville Police Department.

They both sustained injuries and were transported to Pioneer Memorial Hospital, and the boy was later transferred to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, according to the news release.

Prineville Police Chief Eric Bush did not release the students’ names.

He said he believes the girl had been released from the hospital and the boy was still undergoing treatment as of midday Thursday.

The students’ injuries “appeared to be nonlife-threatening,” he said.

Bush said that it does not seem at this time that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the accident. The driver of the car, Miguel Angel Villa, 24, of Prineville, was not issued a citation. Villa and his adult passenger were not injured.

The teenagers were walking home after Junior ROTC practice Wednesday when the accident occurred, Crook County High School Principal Jim Golden said. He added that he sent an e-mail, including the police department’s news release, to all teachers Thursday morning so that they could discuss the incident with students.

Golden said that a similar accident happened on Lynn Boulevard about four years ago.

The speed limit on Lynn Boulevard is normally 35 mph, Bush said, except for when the school zone lights are flashing and the limit is 20 mph. Bush added that speed does not seem to have been a factor in the accident.

“At that time I do not believe (the school zone lights) were flashing,” he said. “Lynn Boulevard in general is somewhat poorly lit.”

The school district’s facilities committee is currently conducting a survey of Crook County’s school buildings, all of which are at capacity in terms of student population.

Committee Chairman Jeff Landaker said most of the committee’s focus with traffic safety is on Powell Butte and Ochoco elementary schools, which are situated right next to state Highway 126 and U.S. Highway 26, respectively.

“The activities (at the high school) last longer than it does at the elementary schools, thus it gets dark and we have kids crossing,” he said. “I do believe it will move up to the forefront, or at least create a greater awareness.”

Golden said he often reminds students to drive safely when they are leaving school.

“One of the things I’m continuously doing is checking kids for seat belts when they leave at lunch and telling them to slow down,” he said. “We know that accidents is one of the major causes of death for teenagers, so the fact of the matter is we’re concerned about our kids’ safety.”

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