LITHIA, Fla. — In the past year alone, three people have been hit by vehicles in a crosswalk that's located less than a mile from Barrington Middle School.
On Tuesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office confirmed a 12-year-old student was one of them. The child is expected to be okay, but was transported to an area hospital.
It's unclear at this time if all the people hit were students, but they were all hit between 8:30 and 8:55 a.m.
Barrington Middle School starts school at 9:25 a.m.
On Wednesday, a sheriff's deputy was near the crosswalk watching students dodge cars while trying to cross. On Thursday, the sheriff's office again sent someone to the crosswalk to keep an eye on the students and make sure drivers were stopping to let them cross.
The crosswalk was installed in August of 2017, after parents raised red flags. They were concerned students were having to play a game of Frogger to cross Boyette Road, which has no sidewalks.
An official from the county was sent to the crosswalk on Tuesday after the 12-year-old student was hit, and they came back again the next day.
A spokesperson for the county emailed us this action plan, aimed at making the crossing safer:
"The Sheriff's office has indicated that they will have a presence at the crosswalk from 7 through 9 a.m. for the next two weeks. Given the location, environmental considerations, and the volume of pedestrians, the County is moving forward with a project to install a pedestrian signal at this locations. The signals will be placed over the road lanes with back-plates with reflective edges surrounding the signals to increase their visibility during sunrise and sunset and during dark time periods. A timeline for installation of the signal is currently being developed. The trees near the crosswalk will be trimmed to lessen any visibility limitations from shadows near and at the crosswalk. The School Administration provides instruction to the students about crossing roads safely. This includes videos as part of their morning TV broadcast. The students are also provide printed materials. The Administration also stands at locations and provides corrective instruction to students if they are not performing save behaviors/actions. The Administration plans to re-show videos about safely crossing streets."
Meanwhile, a parent who lives nearby said he couldn't just sit at home knowing kids had to play, in his words, a game of chicken.
That parents, Travis Smith, put on a neon reflective safety vest and helped students cross in the crosswalk on Wednesday and Thursday.
Still, cars zoomed past.
"We saw three near misses today, so how many have gone unreported," Smith said.
Luckily, this time a deputy with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was there. In about an hour, nearly half a dozen drivers were pulled over.
"We have a policeman out here, with lights on, and people can see that, and they’re still not stopping, what does that tell you," said Smith.
Many of the drivers pulled over said the sun was in their eyes, and they didn't even see anyone waiting to cross at the crosswalk.
Hillsborough County's board of county commissioners are expected to receive a first draft early next month on how much it would cost to expand the sheriff's office crossing guard program to all middle schools.