RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Some kids drive to school, others ride the bus, yet walking to school is another option for some students.
Russellville high school is wrapping up its second week of the 2022 school year. Ryan and Stacy Ness’s son walk to school, and they have concerns about their son making it to the classroom safely.
Their son and other students must cross a crosswalk on South Knoxville Ave. which is directly in front of the school. Ness has concerns with drivers not obeying the law.
On the morning of the first day of school, while his son walked to class, Ryan went to monitor how drivers were driving. He says he witnessed a driver almost hit a child, saying “it slammed of its breaks and stopped on the crosswalk, but it missed him (the child) just by a few feet.”
Stacy and Ryan both say they’ve witnessed multiple dangerous situations here. This led them to reach out to the Russellville School District to do something about it.
Jeff Holt, Deputy Superintendent for Russellville School District along with Russellville Mayor Richard Harris acted immediately.
“We just want to make it safer,” said Holt.
More police officers during school hours and a speed zone sign have been added to make drivers aware of their speed.
The normal speed limit is 45 mph but during school hours, it’s 25mph.
“The worst thing that could happen is a child getting hurt or even killed,” said Mayor Harris.
Mayor Harris says he also hopes to put up flashing lights at the crosswalk.
But since South Knoxville Ave. is a state highway, they must get a permit from the Arkansas Department of Transportation.
Stacy begged drivers to “know what the law is!”
Ryan and Stacy Ness say they met at Russellville High when they were in school.
Ryan said he walked the same path his son does in 2022 and says speeding and not paying attention was a problem then too.
“It does put you a little at ease to know they are actively working on it. I say, “a little at ease” because there is always danger no matter what.”
Wednesday was the first day the new speed zone sign was in place. Ness continues to monitor the traffic in the mornings. He says the new sign, and the increased police presence really made a difference.
Mayor Harris tells drivers to take their time around schools, “because there’s no justification for hitting, hurting, or even killing a child.”