CLOSE CALL: Young girl in crosswalk nearly hit by car

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 1:41 AM EDT
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SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) - Residents are calling for change after a driver in California came within inches of hitting a young girl in the crosswalk in a shocking moment captured on video.

Jison Hong’s dashcam was rolling Sept. 14 as she stopped to let a father and his two young children, both riding scooters, cross the road in San Mateo. Video shows the little girl ride a little bit ahead of her father and nearly get hit by a dark SUV barreling through the intersection.

It was such a close call that the passing of the SUV ripped the child’s scooter from beneath her.

“If it had been a few seconds later, she could have gotten seriously injured. Still my heart kind of pounds every time I think back to that moment,” Hong said.

The girl’s father says his daughter is doing great, though the family was shaken by the incident.

San Mateo Police confirm a report was taken, and the department’s traffic unit is investigating. The driver returned to the scene and spoke with police.

Hong can’t help but think about how much worse the incident could have been.

“I had made eye contact with the family that was about to cross the street. Kind of like in slow motion, I saw in the corner of my eye, this car zooming past,” she said.

She and other residents are now calling for better traffic safety, saying this is just one example of the close calls that have happened at this intersection over the years.

“We’ve been writing emails. We’ve been speaking at city council meetings. And I think now, this video finally triggered some actual real action,” resident Max Partl said.

Police said they’ve responded by increasing area patrols.

“We are monitoring the traffic in that area so that we can continue to be proactive and make sure that that area continues to be safe for the residents and pedestrians and other motorists,” Officer Alison Gilmore said.

City manager Drew Corbett released a statement in reaction to the harrowing video.

“Even though the flashing pedestrian beacons worked as designed, this inexperienced driver clearly failed to stop for the young child in the crosswalk. When something like this happens we have to ask why,” he said in part.

He went on to describe how the city is taking immediate action to improve safety at the intersection. Officials have temporarily removed a lane of traffic to reduce speeds in the area, and they plan to add an additional pedestrian crossing beacon to improve visibility.

The city is also looking into whether all-way stop signs can be installed at the intersection. A traffic study is being conducted.

The girl’s father says he is grateful for the community’s support and the city’s quick action, but he hopes more improvements can be made to other crosswalks like this as well.