Alarming trend of crashes near schools across the Valley

At the beginning of the school year, the Fresno Unified School District released a PSA to keep students in mind on the road.

Brianna Willis Image
Saturday, September 23, 2023
Alarming trend of crashes near schools across the Valley
A family is mourning the death of their grandfather, father, husband, brother and friend after he was hit and killed by a driver in Dinuba near an elementary school.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A family is mourning the death of their grandfather, father, husband, brother and friend after he was hit and killed by a driver in Dinuba near an elementary school on Friday. Also with him, a young girl.

Now, police are continuing to call for safety near schools.

Friday, Dinuba police received a call for a crash nearly a block away from Jefferson Elementary School around 11:30 a.m.

"Unfortunately, one of the pedestrians succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The other one was airlifted to a local hospital and is currently in stable condition," said Dinuba Police Lt. Thaddeus Ashford.

Now, only yellow police tape remains at the intersection of the crash.

The family tells Action News that the man was walking his 4-year-old granddaughter home from school and was only a minute away from home.

"We always encourage people, especially in a school zone they have to be extra careful. Especially when the speed limit is reduced down to 25 miles per hour just due to the fact that there are children walking to and from school," said Lt. Ashford.

Jefferson Elementary School released a statement, reading in part:

"The staff at Jefferson Elementary are deeply saddened to learn of a pedestrian accident involving one of our families ...We asked our counselors and psychologists to help our Jefferson community deal with the incident."

Just Tuesday, a driver hit an 8-year-old boy in Madera near a school.

He told authorities he did not see the crossing guard.

September 7th, a woman in a red Volkswagen near Birney Elementary School in Central Fresno hit a woman and her child. Witnesses say she ran a red light.

A day before, on September 6th near Roosevelt High School, a teenager driving recklessly crashed into a group of students at a FAX bus stop, injuring 11 children.

On August 31st, near West and McKinley Avenues, a vehicle hit a girl on her way home from school, authorities say the driver did not see her in the crosswalk.

That's five crashes in less than a month across the Valley.

At the beginning of the school year, the Fresno Unified School District released a PSA with local leaders to keep students in mind on the road.

The Fresno Police Department told Action News about their new "No Recess for School Safety" initiative, dedicating officers to school zones during peak hours.

"So being constantly aware of your surroundings, not crossing the middle of the roadways, make sure you get to the crosswalks -- to the designated areas that are crossing so that you're safe secured and able to help yourself out," Fresno Police Sgt. Todd Turney said.

As far as the driver who hit the family in Dinuba, police say they stayed on scene and are cooperating with the investigation.

As of right now, drugs or alcohol do not appear to be factors.

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