Accident a teaching moment for school officials

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — Thankful that a more serious accident was avoided, Southgate Community Schools Supt. William Grusecki said that a student getting struck by a vehicle offered an old-school lesson to be taught in a conventional setting: Be careful — and not on the phone — while crossing the street.

“They used it as a reminder,” Grusecki said of the Sept. 13 incident outside Davidson Middle School. “If you’re not paying attention, this is what can happen.”

An 11-year-old student was struck while crossing Leroy Street after school, Grusecki said, and was talking on her cell phone at the time. About 2:50 p.m. the girl began crossing after reportedly looking in one direction but not the other, and was struck by an SUV driven by a 67-year-old woman.

The accident was not life-threatening, Grusecki said, and the student suffered a mild ankle injury. At the time of the incident there had been some harsh words directed at the driver, whom police cleared of any wrongdoing.

“The driver was all shook up,” Grusecki said. “An older lady. But the student was found to be at fault for failure to yield. It could have been worse.”

The crosswalk used by the student was marked with signs indicating pedestrians must yield the right of way. At the location the student crossed, the driver’s vision was reportedly blocked by other vehicles and by students departing school.

“When you cross the road you have to pay attention,” Grusecki said, a message repeated often last week in Southgate schools. “Walking or driving, even with adults, texting or talking takes away from the ability to be safe.”

(James Mitchell can be reached at