Hit and run near school makes three sophomores more careful crossing the street

Originally published on March 20, 2015

A recent hit and run accident shook up three students attending an evening event at school.

The sophomores were hit by an unidentified driver on the corner of Forest View Drive and Ocean Avenue on Jan. 30, according to victims Olivia Starr, Sofia Riley and Isabella Ascione.

The incident occurred as the students were walking to Multicultural Night at around 7 p.m. As soon as the sophomores walked in front of the white car, it drove into them, hitting Ascione and running over Starr’s right foot. Ascione fell on top of the car’s hood momentarily before recovering and getting to her feet, according to Ascione. Riley was physically unharmed, being several feet away from the danger.

Although the incident is listed as a hit and run on the police report, the witnesses believe that it was intentional, according to Starr.

“…I can’t stop thinking about the possibility that an accident might happen again.”

The victims said that after running into them, the driver of the car, a middle-aged black man, backed into the car behind him. After the students went over to the sidewalk, the driver motioned for them to come over. The girls got scared and ran to the school.

“Everything felt like it was in slow motion,” Starr said. “Izzy and Sofia didn’t know my foot had been run over, so they kept screaming at me to run faster even though I was in a lot of pain.”

Once the sophomores made it to the school, they got the help of a security guard, who called the police. Starr and Ascione had to go to the emergency room, but neither of them sustained any injuries other than severe bruising.

The sophomores are still recovering from the event, and all of the girls are more wary when crossing the street. “A few days after that Friday, I was walking to go babysitting and I just froze when I got to the corner,” Riley said. “I felt really silly, and the car stopped and everything, but now I can’t stop thinking about the possibility that an accident might happen again. Now I think twice about things that wouldn’t have even crossed my mind before.”

The girls believe the lack of security outside of the school partially contributed to the hit and run. “I think this school needs more security,” Ascione said. “The fact that they didn’t have anyone outside would only make the driver more comfortable doing this.”

“I knew something like this was possible, but I never really thought about it happening to me.”

During school events at night such as Multicultural Night, there are always two security guards and a staff or administration member on campus for safety, according to principal Andrew Ishibashi.

The security guards are required to patrol all over the campus, including the main hallway, the T bungalows, the parking lot on Lake Merced Boulevard, and the math and science wings, but they are not supposed to watch the streets, according to Ishibashi. The only circumstance in which the security guards are allowed off campus is during a pursuit of runaway students who violate school code, and even then they have to be accompanied by the principal, according to Ishibashi.

Despite the accident, the school does not have the resources to provide security for street traffic around the school areas accessing the buildings, according to Dean Ray Cordoba.

Recently the school administration has been encouraging pedestrian safety around campus. The City Traffic and Parking Department is installing speed limit, school zone, no U-turn, and other official traffic signs both on Eucalyptus Drive and around the campus and its parking lot on Lake Merced Boulevard, according to Cordoba. Also, the white curb was repainted and the red zone was extended in front of the school.

In addition to the new safety measures, Starr, Riley and Ascione want to bring awareness to the possibility of similar situations happening to anyone. “The main lesson that I’ve really taken away from this is that you really have to be prepared if something unexpected happens to you,” Riley said. “I knew something like this was possible, but I never really thought about it happening to me. But it is possible, and people need to be a lot more aware of that for their own safety.”