Woodbury parents speak out about crosswalk after crash sends teen to hospital

A teen was seriously injured when he was hit by a car at 7:30 Friday morning while riding his bike to school in Woodbury, Minnesota. According to police, the 24-year-old driver was distracted.

“Neighbors told us he flew quite a ways,” said the teen’s father, Don Klein.

By the streaks on the street, the impact the 14-year-old sustained hurled him approximately 50 feet.

“We’re just very, very thankful he’s alive and recovering,” Klein said.

The teen, who wasn't wearing a helmet, is now at Regions Hospital with serious injuries, including a broken femur and bruised organs.

“Somebody was typing on their phone, didn’t see him, hit him,” Klein said.

The eighth grader was on his bicycle at the intersection of Pioneer and Bailey Ridge on his way to Lake Middle School, which is located about a quarter-mile from where the crash occurred.

The crosswalk in the past was patrolled by a crossing guard. Klein says as of this school year the South Washington County school district stopped providing one.

Concerned parent Jackie Baxter said since 1999 she’s brought her safety concerns over the busy intersection and crosswalk to the superintendent of Lake Middle School, the city of Woodbury, and the police department.

“They see me there, and they just keep on going and keep on going,”Baxter said of drivers who disregard the pedestrian yield sign.

Several drivers even failed to yield when  Baxter’s youngest, 13-year-old Sydney, a seventh grader at Lake, attempted to cross Monday evening.

“If their parents can’t be here [or] their parents can’t give them a ride, it’s at their own risk,” Jackie Baxter said.

“It’s incredible he survived all this,” Klein said, still in awe his son is alive. “When they had a crossing guard here, we never heard or saw of any other incident.”

A representative with South Washington County Schools said parents were informed back in 2015 that the district isn’t able to provide a guard here because only a few students use this crosswalk.

Meanwhile, police said the distracted driver has yet to be arrested and won’t be charged until the victim’s injuries have been confirmed.

The Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations sent the following letter in December 2015 to parents whose kids use the crosswalk:

    Dear Parent/Guardian,

    You are receiving this letter because your child periodically uses the crosswalk located at Pioneer and Bailey Ridge Drive. Due to the limited number of students that utilize this crosswalk and our ability to provide only intermittent supervision, we will be eliminating the adult crossing guard at this intersection beginning Jan. 4.

    The district currently provides transportation to families who are located outside of the 1.5 mile distance from the school. Your household is within the distance where families are responsible for determining the best method for their student to travel between home and school. This may include either walking or getting dropped off at school. As you consider your options, we want to communicate that we will provide adult crossing guards at the intersection of Pioneer and Juniper Lane and Pioneer and Lake Road. Should families continue to have their children walk to school, it will be important to work as a family to determine the best route to school.

    The district will continue to work with the City of Woodbury to decrease the speed and/or provide a flashing light for pedestrians on Pioneer Drive. Thank you for understanding that safety is a shared responsibility on the part of the district, students and their parents. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.