Liam Tovio, eight, Ryan Lovell, 13, and Holley Lovell, eight, at the intersection where the two Douglas Park School pupils were nearly run over. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

A near miss at a pedestrian crossing has left three children shaken and their parents calling for drivers to slow down.

Holley Lovell and Liam Tovio, both eight-year olds at Douglas Park School were waiting at the Pownall St crossing north of Cole St with Holley’s older brother Ryan.

Ryan, who attends Wairarapa College said cars had stopped on one side of the crossing and he’d told the younger pair they could cross.

“A lady on the other side of the road yelled out ‘stop’ and this white van came speeding past – the kids and their bikes were super close to being hit.”

Liam said he was so frightened he could barely move.

“The van was super close to hitting us, after it passed I just took a few steps back and looked around.

“A lady in a green car came out and helped us, then our principal came and got us.”

Initially Liam hadn’t wanted to talk about his experience because the memories made him cry, but decided he wanted to tell his story so that other children wouldn’t have to go through the same thing.

Both he and Holley are making a movie about their experience at school.

Holley said she’d been banned from biking to school since the incident, while Liam now has a high visibility helmet and bag.

Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling said he was disgusted with the driver and wanted people to be aware, watch their speed and watch out for pedestrians.

“I think this just highlights the need for everybody to think about their actions and the consequences they can have during those busy morning and afternoon commutes.

“We always will come across those pedestrian crossings and we have to switch on and scan the scene, we have to look out for those vulnerable road users and school kids.”

Pauling said that brightly coloured gear, high visibility backpack covers, and bike covers were all useful for keeping kids safe and were available at the Wairarapa Road Safety Council.

“If a car is travelling over 30km and they hit one of those kids there’s a good chance they’ll be killed. Once again people need to slow down.”

Liam’s father Lottz Tovio reinforced Pauling’s message about asking drivers to slow down and said the council should get involved by installing school signs with a 40km speed limit around all schools in Wairarapa.