School zone speeders put thousands of students at risk

(Photo: WKRN)

Metro police say the thousands of children who use crosswalks to get to and from their school each day are at risk from drivers who disregard the 15-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Nashville's News 2 recently visited Paragon Mills Elementary School with a Metro police officer as hundreds of students were dismissed for the day.

According to police, drivers traveling faster than the posted speed limit in the area is an increasing problem.

“You need to slow down with all of these kids running around,” Sgt. Bob Sheffield told one motorist.

Sheffield, who is with Metro's crash investigation, said to his knowledge, there has never been a fatal accident involving a child using a cross walk, however many injuries have been reported.

“We've answered numerous calls where individuals have been struck by a vehicle, [including] school crossing guards that have been struck by a vehicle in school zones,” Sheffield said.

In August, Hillsboro High School junior Tai Chambers, who was not in a crosswalk but was making his way to his bus stop at 6 a.m., was struck by a driver who did not see him crossing Annex Avenue to Premier Drive.

“I did see it [the vehicle]. It was under the bridge when I first saw it, but I felt I had enough time to cross the street and the next thing I know, it hit me,” Tai recalled.

The driver who struck the teen was traveling less than 25-miles-per-hour at the time of the accident, however Tai had to undergo surgery, have pins placed in his arm and complete rehabilitation.

“I had to have pins in my arms for six weeks,” he said.

Mother Josette Chambers added, “He's on track for college and we are real concerned about interference and we are concerned about the injury too because we don't know how it will manifest down the line.”

Tai told Nashville's News 2 he still takes the same route to his bus stop each day, though he says he is more careful and asks drivers to be so too.

“Please watch out for kids,” he said.

Anyone caught speeding in a school zone will receive a ticket for $106.

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