Police blocked off the westbound lanes of Portage Avenue at Ferry Road after a school girl was hit running across the street Wednesday just as classes ended for the day at George Waters Middle School.
"She’s a young girl from Grade 6 and she was running across the street," said one mother who described pandemonium among parents in the minutes immediately after the accident.
"Thank God, my young fellow was right beside me," said the mother, a woman who identified herself as Nancy. She said other parents she recognized were searching for their children to make sure they were safe.
Another witness, a man who gave his name as Greg, said he was behind the wheel, headed west on Portage when the light turned green at Ferry Road.
The next thing he heard was the sound of brakes grinding to a sudden halt.
"I was in a car behind the truck" that hit the girl, Greg said.
He described the victim as a young person, perhaps 12 years of age.
He said the light turned green and he saw the girl ran across Portage Avenue just before she was hit by the truck, two vehicles in front of him. "The girl was running across the street, the light turned green and she was run over by the truck. She was bleeding," the driver said.
A white Ford pickup truck was parked at the intersection, surrounded by yellow tape that police strung across the westbound lanes at Portage as darkness fell and sleet started falling late Wednesday.
The driver said it appeared that one of the girl’s legs was crushed from the impact.
He said it appeared that the driver didn’t see her until it was too late.
Traffic headed west on Portage was backed up for blocks during rush hour as police closed off westbound lanes of Portage Avenue. Side streets leading from Portage were congested with cars that were diverted from the scene.
Parents on the school’s advisory board had been discussing the need for a crosswalk at the intersection in recent weeks as a safety measure for students at George Waters and this accident is expected to accelerate the need to do something now.
The girl was reported in critical condition in hospital late Wednesday.