Police in Utah urging drivers, pedestrians to be aware after recent series of crashes

Posted at 9:16 PM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-04 09:00:54-04

MILLCREEK, Utah -- It was a dangerously close call for a young teen in Millcreek Thursday afternoon after he was sent to the hospital in serious condition after he was hit by a car.

The incident is just one of several auto-pedestrian accidents police have seen in the past 10 days.

Police say the 13-year-old was on a sidewalk but then stepped off to cross the road. An SUV coming down the street didn't have time to stop, and the vehicle hit the teen. He is OK but has fractures on his face.

Police say they've seeing too many of these accidents lately.

“It has been a rough few days for us,” said Lt. Brian Lohrke of the Unified Police Department.

The teen's brush with death in Millcreek comes days after a 13-year-old boy was hit and killed by a car in Herriman. Days before that, a 1-year-old was backed over by a car in West Valley City. Police say these cases are the most heartbreaking.

“Especially when they involves kids, you want to say all patients are equal, but when kids are involved it's hard on the first responders, and they try to do everything they can do to remedy the situation,” Lt. Lohrke said.

Those tragedies take the state up to 30 fatal auto pedestrian accidents this year. On Tuesday, one Orem family almost became part of those statistics.

“Completely shocked, scared, you don't know how bad it's going to be, you're thinking the worse case scenario ever,” Jennifer Thompson said.

The Thompson's three kids were on their way to school. While walking with a crossing guard in a crosswalk, police say a distracted driver hit the group of kids.

“If he would have been going faster, our kids would have been life-flighted or something worse would have happened,” Thompson said. “...Total relief when we found out they were actually OK."

The driver was cited with failure to yield. Fortunately, the kids walked away with only bumps and bruises.

“Huge relief, blessing, we saw them sitting on the side wrapped in blankets, my oldest son was smiling, 'Are you really hurt, did it hit you?'" Thompson said of the moments after. "He said, 'Yeah, I think I flipped over the car!' I’m like, 'What?!'"

The Thompson's have this message for drivers.

“When you're driving, think of your own children or your nieces or nephews that are out there," Thompson said. "I think it will help you focus just a little bit more."

Last year Utah had a total of 49 fatal auto-pedestrian accidents. The year before that it was 30 for the whole year, a number Utah has already reached for 2016.

Police want to remind parents to talk to kids about the importance of crossing in a crosswalk, and to remind drivers to be aware of their surroundings at all times.