Local News

Teenager's Death Renews Concerns Over Bus Stop Safety

Posted February 10, 1999

— A wreath marks the spot where a 15-year-old boy died Thursday morning, while crossing a busy Raleigh street.

Troopers say Charles Gould was crossing Buffaloe Road around 6:30 a.m. to get to a convenience store; he stumbled in the westbound lane and while he was picking himself up, he was hit by a vehicle in the eastbound lane.

Troopers say the driver of the vehicle that hit Gould will not be charged. Officials do not believe the driver was speeding.

"The gentleman that struck him said all he saw was a blue object. So he never really even saw the boy running across the street," says Trooper G.L. Burton, of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

Residents who live near the intersection of Buffaloe Road and Foxhall Village Road say the accident could have been prevented.

There is a school bus stop on Buffaloe Road; residents say the combination of too many cars and too many kids was bound to lead to an accident like Thursday's.

"Kids think they can beat this traffic once it comes around that curve," witness Michael George says.

People who live at a nearby mobile home park say they have been asking for improvements on the heavily-traveled road for years.

"The traffic through here is horrendous," says George. "I've seen accident after accident right through here and just last year another child got hit on a bike."

"If this doesn't tell everybody that something needs to be done about this road, I don't know what will," says witness Carmen Nittolo.

Thursday afternoon, parents in the area held a meeting to see how they can get the bus stopped moved.

"I think [the bus stop] needs to be inside the trailer park, not so close to a major highway," says parent Glenn Warren. "Especially in the morning when it's dark out and foggy and the cars can't really see the kids."

State law encourages school buses to stay on public streets, not to drive on to private roads, like the one where Foxhall Village is located.

Ray Massey, Wake County Schools Associate Superintendent, says sometimes it's safer for buses to stay in the line of traffic.

"That's where we have to take a look at each individual situation and make a judgment," says Massey. "It's sometimes safer to actually stop the traffic in both directions on a busy street than is is to turn off on that street and try to reenter, particularly if you are reentering that street across traffic."

Parents say the death of a child shows that may not be the best route.

Troopers say there have been many accidents on the road, and other cases of children being hit.

Thursday's accident happened before the school bus arrived. School officials say it is important for parents to know that it is also their responsibility to make sure kids are safe before they get on their bus in the morning and in the afternoon when they are dropped off. ,Michelle Singer,..


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