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Child hospitalized after being struck by car

CLOVIS — A child was hospitalized Monday morning after being struck by a car while crossing a busy intersection on his way to school, an apparent accident of timing and visibility.

The 11-year old boy “was alert and conscious,” but “complained of pain to his back and head” and was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center, according to an email from Clovis Police Capt. Roman Romero.

Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Jody Balch said the boy was in “stable condition” hours after the incident. Neither Balch nor Romero had updates Monday afternoon.

The driver was not cited, Romero said, as the vehicle had right-of-way at the time of the incident just before 7:55 a.m. at the intersection of 21st and Sycamore Streets.

Yucca Middle School Principal Loran Hill said the child, a sixth grader, lives somewhere east of Norris Street and sometimes rides the bus into school. He wasn’t sure why the boy came on foot Monday, and said classes don’t start till 8:20 a.m. so “he would’ve had plenty of time” to get to class.

Jennifer Bigler said she was three cars back, on Sycamore Street, at the time of the collision. She said the boy was at the northeast corner of the intersection when the car nearest him in the westbound lane of 21st stopped at the intersection. The boy started running across and was struck by the westbound sedan in the next lane, which stopped immediately.

“It just started as an idyllic Monday morning ... young kid, healthy kid, ran across into the cross walk, but I can see how that second driver wouldn’t have been able to see him,” she told The News. “I just can’t believe it, I thought he was dead on impact. I saw him like crunch up and I heard it, saw him bounce up on the windshield and fly, and everyone got right out.”

She picked up the phone to call 911, but another witness had already done the same. Two ambulances were on scene within five minutes, she said.

At the moment of impact, “there was the sound of the people all making this gasping wail, all at the same time,” Bigler said.

The scene was cleared quickly, said a resident at the intersection, much faster than after the fatal two-vehicle collision that killed a young couple there in March.

“There are a lot of kids that cross here,” David Saylor told The News. “Why isn’t there a cross guard there?”

In the past three years the intersection has seen a total of 17 crashes, according to data from Romero.

There were four crash reports in 2017/18, 10 in 2016/17, and three the year before.

Romero said his best advice for traffic safety, at that intersection or elsewhere, is that “when it’s time to drive, drive. Nothing else matters; not your appearance, not your phone, or your selection of music. Just driving,” he said. “What does matter is getting to your destination safely, driving as well as you can in an effort to protect your loved ones and everyone else’s loved ones. It’s simple, but it seems hard to practically apply.”

Romero said the investigation of the fatal March collision was still under investigation. No charges have been filed in connection with that crash.

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