Car crashes impact South students

Illustration by Ella Prillaman

Tess Ledden, asst. features editor

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By the time students reach high school, many have experienced car accidents, from minor fender benders to crashes that total cars. South, with its numerous teenage drivers, has gone through its share of accidents on campus, especially in the student parking lots.

A South student got distracted by their cell phone and hit another vehicle, according to Ronald Bean, assistant principal and Dean of students.

“[The first week of September] there was [an accident]… in the West Senior lot,” Bean said. “[The driver] said that she was reading some text messages and she hit a parked car.”

Another accident occurred on August 29, 2019 in the Senior Lot just a week after school started. Senior Piotr Jankowski described his injuries: he suffered a scraped and bruised arm, and developed neck pain two days later.

“I was pulling into the West Lot in the morning… and within a split second I t-boned [the other driver’s] car,” Jankowski said. “The steering wheel airbag blew in front of me. My arm hit the steering wheel. The Deans, paramedics, and my mom came and I left school to go home.”    Jankowski believes car accidents at South are a major concern due to their frequency. He estimates that they occur about twice a month.

“[Not every driver is] paying attention in the parking lot,” Jankowski said.

The administration has put significant measures in place to prevent such accidents, according to Bean. They are content with their efforts to promote student safety in South’s parking lots.

“We’ve posted a number of signs about texting and driving,” Bean explained. “We have multiple speed bumps and we have stop signs and we put people in the parking lot, so we feel like we’ve made a concerted effort to make sure that those parking lots are more safe before, during and after school.”

However, not all student accidents occur in campus parking lots. Two years ago, junior Mia Marchiori was involved in an accident on the corner of West Lake Avenue and Pfingsten Road.

“There was a lot of traffic… the car in front of us slammed on their brakes, and we were able to slam on our brakes in time but the car behind us wasn’t able to, and they rear-ended us,” Marchiori said.

Students involved in accidents are often shaken and go home before returning during the school day, according to Bean. However, Marchiori arrived at school right away after her accident.

“We had to walk the rest of the way to school,” Marchiori said. “We were ten minutes [late].”

Students safety is at risk from car accidents, Bean explained. He believes this is the most important part of the issue.

“[Drivers] are more focused on their cell phones and things that are going on in the car as opposed to what’s going on around them,” Bean said. “It puts the drivers in either one of the cars in danger [and] it puts the pedestrians walking in the lot in danger. Anytime there’s an accident out there it’s a safety concern for us.”

While it’s difficult to estimate the frequency of car crashes at South, students and administration agree that accidents are an issue for the school. Bean expressed his hopes that South students consider the responsibilities of driving.

“Driving is a huge responsibility [and] our hope is that everybody who drives on campus takes that seriously,” Bean said.

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