WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An 11-year-old boy riding a bicycle was critically injured on Tuesday after being hit by a vehicle on eastbound Central at Redbarn.
It happened around 7:40 a.m., just east of Bishop Carroll High School.
According to the Wichita Police Department (WPD), a Ford Fusion was heading eastbound when it hit the boy in the crosswalk. The driver of the car stopped, as did several witnesses.
“We are talking with witnesses to see if the crosswalk was in effect or if there are any other factors involved,” said WPD Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy.
The boy was identified as Nathan Veith, a St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School fifth-grade student.
“We simply ask for prayers for the student and his family,” said Matt Vainer, director of communication for Wichita Catholic Diocese.
Neighbors shared their concerns about how dangerous the intersection can be.
Amanda Hageman, a mother of five, drives her children to school. When she initially moved to the area, she wanted to have her kids bussed to school due to the busy crosswalk at Central and Redbarn, but the school told her they could not because they live too close.
While Hageman has the ability to drive her children to school, she points out that not all parents have that option.
“The reality of it is is we have to send our kids to school when we aren’t able to take them, hoping to God that people are paying attention to the roads that our babies are on,” said Hageman.
Robert Patallas and his wife moved to the area in 2015 and walk regularly.
“One of the cars that were parked on the street took off and about hit my wife and about hit our dog,” said Patallas.
Since then, they do not cross Central.
“It’s just that the lights are not timed enough to let somebody cross the street,” said Patallas.
Wichita recently passed its 2023-2024 budget. It included changing crosswalk improvements from every 20 years to every two years.
“We are better than this as a city. We should not have our children who are using crosswalks, who are doing everything right, get hit by vehicles,” said Mayor Brandon Whipple.
But neighbors want to see more done, such as more buses for students, a stoplight, or crossing guards.
“All we can do is take preventative measures that does not mean nothing will ever happen, but it means that the likelihood of it happening is a lot less,” said Hageman.
Wichita’s engineers are looking at the data and police reports and expect to have more information on the incident on Thursday.