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Lower Speed Zone Urged for Stretch of Oso Parkway

Tesoro High student's death spurs the action. Supervisors will vote on the change in June.

May 16, 2003|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

An Orange County traffic committee on Thursday recommended that a stretch of bustling Oso Parkway near Rancho Santa Margarita be declared a school zone -- the site where a 16-year-old student was killed when a big-rig ran a red light and slammed into his pickup truck.

The Traffic Safety Committee voted 4 to 1 to slow motorists to 25 mph along a portion of the four-lane thoroughfare that runs in front of Tesoro High School.

"We are thrilled that the committee listened to the input by the citizens," said school Principal Dan Burch, who was among about 75 parents, teachers and administrators who attended the hearing. "We hope this will prevent other tragedies."

The Board of Supervisors will make a final decision in three weeks.

The designation would call for yellow signs to be posted about 500 feet on both sides of the campus advising motorists to slow to 25 mph if students are present. The speed limit would remain 55 mph otherwise.

Sophomore Cory Bailey, 16, of Mission Viejo was killed April 7 when the big-rig slammed into his Toyota Tundra, flipping the vehicle onto its cab. Cory and his passenger, Haley Hause, 15, of Ladera Ranch, were making a left turn from Tesoro Creek Road onto Oso when the big-rig, traveling 50 to 55 mph down a slight hill, hit their truck. Haley was treated for a skull fracture and is undergoing therapy.

The California Highway Patrol this week determined the driver of the big-rig, Alejandro Sanchez Martinez, 42, of Santa Ana, was at fault because he ran the red light. The CHP has recommended that manslaughter charges be filed.

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