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4 Students Hurt When Hit by Car Near School

August 17, 2004|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

Four Santa Ana High School students were injured Monday when they were struck by a car while in a crosswalk near school, police said.

Two of the teenagers, Beatriz Cruz, 18, and Eva Flores, 17, were in critical but stable condition at Western Medical Center-Santa Ana, school officials said. The extent of their injuries was not available.

Dolores Osorio and Eduardo Perez, both 16, were taken to the medical center but were not admitted. The four had just finished registering for their senior year, a school spokeswoman said. They were in a crosswalk at Flower and Walnut streets about 12:30 p.m., police said, when they were struck by a car traveling north.

Witnesses told police that the driver, whose identity was not released, was talking on a cell phone when he struck the teens, but authorities were unable to confirm that.

The crosswalk is marked and flashes lights in the pavement whenever someone steps into the street, Santa Ana Police Sgt. Carlos Rojas said.

"At this point, the evidence indicates that the driver should have yielded to the students," Rojas said.

Police have not charged or cited the driver. If it is determined that he is at fault, Rojas said, he could be charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and negligence in operating a motor vehicle.

According to Lucy Araujo-Cook, public information officer at the school, Principal Dan Salcedo has campaigned for a traffic signal at the intersection, but city officials have said it would cause congestion because there is a signal at 1st and Flower streets.

"It should be a heads-up to drivers to be careful," Araujo-Cook said.

"Today was a clear day, and it was bright. [The students] were crossing where they were supposed to be, and they still were struck."

According to Rojas, however, adding a signal would mean that there would be two very close to each other.

A determination would have to be made whether another light "is really enhancing the safety of the public or just giving the appearance of enhancing the safety of the public."

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