AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say a 6-year-old child was seriously injured after being hit by a car while she was crossing the street Tuesday.
The crash occurred around 7 a.m. at East 12th and Angelina Street in front of Marshall Apartments. Cpl. Earl Garrison says as the child was making her way across the street, several cars missed her, but one driver wasn’t able to and ran into her.
Zabree Calderon’s family says the first grader is at Dell Children’s Medical Center and has a broken leg, internal bleeding, brain damage and is in a coma.
“When I heard about it, I was tearing up,” said Sean Denny, a cousin who calls Zabree his niece.
Denny said Zabree is a special needs student and was waiting for the bus to Blackshear Elementary Fine Arts Academy. Her family says her grandparents take care of her.
While she was waiting for the bus, on the south side of the street she saw her grandmother across the street at the other bus stop. Family members say Zabree’s grandmother had gotten off the bus herself.
“She saw my grandma, she got excited and she wanted to stay, ‘Hi,” explained Denny. “By the time she got halfway, my grandma is telling her, ‘No stop! watch out!’ It was too late, she got hit right there by the sign and flew at least six feet in the air.”
It’s unclear if there was someone with the first grader on the other side of the road.
Police say the driver who hit the elementary student stayed at the scene and police do not expect to file charges against the driver.
“She’s a very calm kid, she likes to run around and play, really nice sweet little girl, hangs out with my daughter at the play ground,” said Vickzhary Delvalle. She lives in Zabree’s complex and her daughter has the same class as the six year old.
“It’s just really heartbreaking,” said Delvalle, who saw the aftermath of the crash on her way to taking her kids to school. “Twenty minutes when I got back home the counselor called me and said not to worry, they’re going to be talking to the kids all day today and if there is anything when they get home, tomorrow they’ll be available too. So that really made me feel comfortable knowing that they’re there for our kids.”
Delvalle said a letter went home with students and that the kids in Zabree’s class made get well cards for the first grader. The mother of two said she’s using the unfortunate situation as a teaching lesson for her kids. “I tell her to look both ways, don’t cross the street, hold my hand, if I don’t tell you to go stay by my side at all times,” said Delvalle.
People who live at Marshall Apartments said they think the area needs a cross walk. There are Capital Metro bus stops on either side of E. 12th street, but there are no pedestrian hybrid beacons (PFB). Those are the warning devices that have two red lights around a single yellow light.
The Austin Transportation Department said an engineer will survey the area at Angelina Street and E. 12 Street to see if there needs to be a cross walk.
“That would be a plus, to add [one] here, especially in this area where people get off from this apartment complex to get on the bus,” explained Denny. “Most of us have to run across the street just to get by because there are so many vehicles passing by and we’ll miss the bus by the time it gets here.”
The city said typically a PFB is placed at intersections of a four lane road. What’s called a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon is placed at smaller intersections and uses solar power.
The Transportation Department said they will place a RRFB at Angelina and Rosewood.