Parents concerned about a dangerous Tacoma crosswalk

Parents concerned about a dangerous Tacoma crosswalk »Play Video
TACOMA, Wash. -- A dangerous crosswalk near a Tacoma school is raising concerns, especially after a middle school student was hit by a car.

For kids trying to cross busy East Portland Avenue to get to First Creek Middle School, it can be a harrowing experience. Even with a flashing crosswalk meant to stop traffic, too many drivers ignore the sign and speed by.

It has become such a concern that some parents now walk their children to the street just to make sure they get safely to the other side.

"Safety. High-quality safety. Not only for my son, but for other kids. In case they get hit, I'm a witness for the cop," said mother Michelle Wood.

One of those speeding cars hit Naomi Taumaletia's son, Eka, right in the middle of the crosswalk a couple weeks ago.

"No parent wants to have their child dragged around the street," Naomi said.

The seventh grader was tossed a few feet and skidded on the ground, scraping up parts of his back and elbow.

"When he hit me, he didn't stop," Eka said. "He just kept on going. He didn't care."

The speed limit is normally 35 mph on that stretch of the road, but just before school starts it drops to 20 mph. Police enforce the speed limit, and they often catch drivers who are unaware of the school zone speed limit.

One woman was caught Wednesday going 26 mph through the zone.

"When I normally go down this road, it's well before school hours," she said.

Getting caught speeding in a school zone is a lot more expensive than getting pulled over in most other place. Drivers caught going more than 15 mph over the speed limit will get a $271 fine, according to the state.

Neighbors in the area say the street often seems like a raceway and more drivers need to hit their brakes before someone else gets hurt.