Accident sparks closer look at crossing in unincorporated Lantana

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on April 12, 2012 at 6:31 PM

LANTANA - Three-hundred children walk or ride across Lantana Trail everyday.

Thursday, a Denton County deputy kept an eye on the intersection, but it was one day after a car hit a second-grade girl in the crosswalk.

Witnesses say the girl went flying off her bike in the first serious accident after a series of close calls. The girl's grandmother told News 8 Thursday the second-grader is recovering with bumps and bruises, along with a possibly sprained ankle.

"One kid didn't even look, just [biked] right across the intersection without even looking," said parent Leslie Farris. "But they're just kids, so y'know, as adults, it's our responsibility to help them where they can't help themselves a lot of times."

Kids have to cross at Stacee Lane because the nearest tunnel crossing is close due to road construction. The intersection already has school zone warning signs, a painted crosswalk and a push button for flashing signals.

The water district that maintains the road said that's the best it can do. Because Lantana is unincorporated, it legally can't enforce traffic laws or hire crossing guards. And previous volunteers risked liability issues.

"The same day, all of the crossing guards turned in their vests and resigned once they found out that there was some exposure personally, if anything ever did happen," said Kevin Mercer with the Lantana Water District.

Parents and the water district have already submitted a petition asking Denton County for legal help, but that could take months to resolve. Until then, children will still have to cross a four-lane road, hoping drivers pay as close attention as one deputy did Thursday afternoon.

"They just need to slow down, they need to pay attention to the school zones, and if the lights are flashing, obey the rules, obey the laws," said parent Tiffanie West Dandrea.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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