Colton High School student struck by car, residents demand flashing stop sign

Photo John Echevarria: While the city goes through the process to determine the best plan of action to elevate safety traffic measures on Rancho Avenue, Colton Police Department patrol vehicles will be present to enforce traffic.

On February 1, dozens of Colton constituents took to the city council to express Colton High School (CHS) traffic safety concerns and demand a flashing stop sign after a female student was struck by a vehicle in late January.

While the student is expected to make a full recovery, parents, students, and residents are requesting action to avoid another incident on Rancho Avenue.

“My goddaughter Reyna goes to CHS. She was struck by a car last week and was just left there. She was walking home from basketball practice and the driver didn’t even stop to check on her. My family, friends, and I…along with her basketball team, coach, and parents of the team are here to ask the city council to take measures to protect our current and future Yellowjackets by adding a flashing light stop sign to the crosswalk as several students use it to walk to and from school,” said Norma Barasa, godmother of the victim.

During public comment, all seven of the speakers alluded to this type of incident not being a first occurrence.

“Our basketball team started a petition, which was signed by more than 2,500 people. Many students signed and shared their close encounters, and how they fear for their safety each day they cross that street. There were members of the community sharing how they’ve lost loved ones as a result of getting hit by a vehicle outside of CHS. Ask yourself, how would you feel if instead of Reyna, it was your child? I know this isn’t the first time this concern has been raised, but I hope it will be the last time,” said Candice Tapia, CHS teacher, and coach.

While there is a process to get a flashing stop sign placed at the crosswalk, which includes surveys and a budget process, Colton City Council wasted no time taking measures into their own hands.

“I heard and share the community’s urgent concerns of serious traffic issues around Colton High. While there are processes that our departments are doing, I reached out to Chief Dominguez directly, for some immediate action. Officers are out in force now strictly enforcing traffic laws in our school zone for the added safety of our jewels of Colton, our children. Thank you Colton PD for your quick response,” said Councilmember John Echevarria.

It’s not currently known when or if a flashing stop sign will be inserted soon, but in the meantime, a Colton Police Department patrol vehicle will be near the crosswalk to enforce traffic on Rancho Avenue. “This is not the first incident that occurred on Rancho Avenue. It’s a very busy street and a very dim-lit street. We’re very blessed that Reyna survived this accident and I know that with God’s grace she will be healed mentally and physically. We hope that this does not happen to another family. Our community would feel so much more comfortable knowing you have done all you can to protect our Colton Yellowjackets,” concluded Barasa.