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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Car strikes boy on way to school for 1st day

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Adam Jackson was hit crossing outside a crosswalk at Glendale Avenue and Juliet Drive.
Adam Jackson was hit crossing outside a crosswalk at Glendale Avenue and Juliet Drive.
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Toledo school leaders issued a plea yesterday for motorists to be careful after an eighth-grade boy was hit by a car on the first day of school at Byrnedale Middle School.

Adam Jackson, whose age was unavailable, was taken to Toledo Hospital. His condition was not being released.

Police said the boy was badly hurt, sustaining several broken bones, but was expected to survive. The youth's family could not be reached for comment.

Just before 8 a.m., the boy was dropped off for school on the north side of Glendale Avenue, according to a police report.

As the Jackson youth tried to cross the street, he was struck by an eastbound vehicle driven by Kok Leung. Authorities said the youth crossed the street outside a crosswalk just east of Glendale and Juliet Drive.

Mr. Leung of 2116 Tedrow Road was not cited, police said. He was not injured.

Jackie Howe, whose granddaughter attends Byrnedale in South Toledo, saw the boy get hit by the car and rushed to his aide, as did several other people.

"It was very hectic," Ms. Howe said. "I wanted to stay with him until the ambulance came."

Classmate Jake Lee, also in the eighth grade, was no more than 20 feet away when the boy was hit by the car.

"He got hit really hard and it looked like he wasn't breathing," young Lee said.

Byrnedale is on the four-lane Glendale, just west of Byrne Road. A traffic light is at the school's main entrance, and flashing yellow lights advise motorists that the speed limit is 20 mph.

Superintendent John Foley said parents should regularly remind their children to be mindful of all the rules.

"Drivers need to make sure they follow the 20 mph in school zones," he said. "I don't know the specifics of this accident but many times, drivers don't heed the 20-mph zone."

The district has crossing guards at its elementary schools but not the junior high schools, which includes Byrnedale.

The Toledo Board of Education just last week authorized the administration to negotiate with an agency to replace crossing guards the city discontinued funding this school year.

Mr. Foley estimated the cost at about $473,000.

The accident was discussed during City Council's agenda review meeting yesterday.

City Councilman Rob Ludeman speculated that the eastbound driver's vision was obscured by the sun.

Mr. Ludeman said crossing guards never have been provided at junior high schools. He said the city school district took over paying for the guards after the city stopped paying for them at the end of the last school year.

Mr. Ludeman also raised the question of whether the Catholic Diocese of Toledo or individual Catholic schools would take on the responsibility of replacing crossing guards previously funded by the city.

Jack Altenburger, superintendent of schools for the Toledo Catholic Diocese, said there are seven Catholic schools that had crossing guards last year that have not been replaced.

"We are not sure what approach we are going to take," he said.

Councilman Frank Szollosi called on Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to engage in a discussion with the school districts about identifying the most hazardous school traffic zones. He said the city should consider paying for crossing guards on Glendale.

"Say there was a crossing guard at Glendale - this might have been prevented," Mr. Szollosi said. "We should go the extra mile of having an adult with a stop sign."

Staff writers Tom Troy and Laren Weber contributed to this report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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