Two students, brother and sister, of Etiwanda Colony Elementary were struck by a vehicle while walking home from school. Tragically, 9 year old Ashlyn Gardner passed away as a result of her injuries. The car accident occurred at the intersections of East Avenue and Banyan Street and Etiwanda Colony Elementary is located just west of the scene of the car accident and Etiwanda School District offices are located at the northeast corner of the intersection.
The circumstances of this car accident bring to mind the case of Joyce v. Simi Valley Unified School District (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 292, wherein a jury found Simi Valley Unified School District liable for nearly $3 million dollars in damages when one of its students was struck by a vehicle while crossing a street. The School District had allowed students access to the street via an open gate, which led to a crosswalk which had no signals and crossed a four lane street. The student was injured while using the crosswalk to cross the street. There was evidence that the School District was aware that motorists regularly violated the posted speed limit and various individuals, including the City Council had requested the School District to warn students to not use a different crosswalk to cross the street. Therefore, the jury's verdict was affirmed by the Court of Appeal because the school district failed to warn students of the dangerous condition of the crosswalk, and failed to direct students to use a different crosswalk which was controlled by a signal. Id. at 292.
News reports of the fatal car accident that occurred last week near Etiwanda Colony Elementary indicate that area residents were concerned about the heavy traffic and narrow roads in the area. Although, the car accident did not occur adjacent to Etiwanda Colony Elementary, as in Joyce v. Simi Valley Unified School District, schools and parents should be sure to inform children walking to and from school of safe places to cross streets, and just as importantly warn students against crossing at unsafe points.