The father of a 16-year-old driver killed in an accident about 500 yards from Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita has asked the school district to have the area designated a school zone to limit speeds to 25 mph when students are present.
"It's a death-trap zone," Randy Bailey, a teacher at Barcelona Hills Elementary School, said of the intersection at Tesoro Creek Road and Oso Parkway where his son, Corey, was fatally injured April 7.
"It's very dangerous .... My son could possibly still be alive" if school zone signs had been posted, he said.
Corey Bailey and his 15-year-old girlfriend had left the campus for lunch that day and were driving through the intersection when a large truck barreled into them, killing the boy and critically injuring the girl; she has since been released from the hospital.
A spokesman for the California Highway Patrol later said that "somebody ran the red light," but added that it was unclear who was at fault. On Wednesday, authorities said the collision is still under investigation.
At Randy Bailey's request, the Capistrano Unified School District this week sent a letter to the Orange County Traffic Committee -- which advises the Board of Supervisors -- seeking the school zone designation.
"Although we cannot prevent future accidents," wrote Chris Van Kuiken, head of district's maintenance and operations, "we may be able to reduce the severity of such an accident if the speed of traffic ... were to be reduced."
Ignacio Ochoa, the county's chief traffic engineer and chairman of the traffic committee, said Wednesday that the request would be carefully considered. However, a CHP officer familiar with the accident said he doubted school zone signs would have made a difference.
"If someone doesn't observe the color of the light," he said, "you could put up any sign you want and it's not going to do anyone any good."
"There's a huge difference in your reaction time at 55 mph and at 25 mph," he said. "The county has to understand that this is a little death zone and do something about it."