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Boy hit at ‘courtesy crossing’

Easten Harmon-Speers’ great-grandmother Helen Speers and grandmother Serena Karaitiana at the scene of Tuesday night’s incident on Cameron Crescent PHOTOS/KAREN COLTMAN

Five-year-old victim ‘bruised from top to bottom’, lucky to be alive
Police yet to confirm driver’s status

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Easten Harmon-Speers was run over by a car when he stepped out onto what locals call the “courtesy crossing” on Cameron Crescent on Tuesday night, confirming long-held concerns about cars travelling too fast in the area.

The five-year-old boy was attempting to cross the road to get to McJorrow Park playground at around 6pm.

He’s now in a stable condition in Wellington Hospital but “bruised from top to bottom”, his grandmother Serena Karaitiana said.

“He has a broken collar bone, but his spine is apparently okay and he is conscious,” she said. “But they are doing more tests on him. We are very grateful to have him with us today.”

His great-grandmother Helen Speers saw the incident in which the youngster went under the car.

“He was stuck under it, we heard the screaming, and everyone ran out,” Speers said. “I watched people trying to pull my great-grandson out.”

Easten was taken by ambulance to Wairarapa Hospital for assessment then transferred by helicopter to Wellington Hospital around midnight.

The ‘courtesy crossing’ with skid marks clearly visible.

There is a 25kmh sign at the courtesy crossing. It was put in last September.

It’s not classed as a pedestrian crossing, but locals said it was used as one. It is called a Traffic Calming Table intended to slow down traffic.

The Eastside Community Group had five put in with the support of the Masterton District Council and are likely to consult with council about putting in another one farther up the road.

Group chair Laurie Williams said the most important part of the group’s job was to listen to the community and lobby for what it needs.

On Wednesday, 10 people who live on the street came out to speak to the Times-Age and said they would like another “speed bump” further up the road towards Colombo Rd and another child safety sign.

“I am quite happy to promote this to the council and to put up some more safety signs if that is what the community wants,” Williams said.

“I don’t know if we can get a full pedestrian crossing there but I will ask about that too.”

Karaitiana said that the community was worried about drivers, like the one involved in Tuesday’s incident who “was going too fast”.

“There is a sign right here saying slow down,” she said. “The crossing is next to a playground for goodness sake.”

Easten is a pupil at Lakeview School, and deputy principal Polu Luatua said the school was devastated by his situation.

“We will do anything we can to support the whanau,” he said.

Easten is being supported by his parents and grandmother in Wellington.

Police have yet to confirm if charges will be laid against the driver.


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