WEST RICHLAND -- A West Richland teen won't soon forget how he spent his 13th birthday in the hospital after being hit by a car -- and his mother hopes other kids will remember his safety story.
Joshua Stricklin suffered only minor injuries Tuesday when he was hit by a car as he crossed Van Giesen Street in West Richland, said his mother, Carrie Keever.
"It was very scary," Keever said about getting the call while at work in Moses Lake. "It was a very long hour-and-a-half drive."
Stricklin had just gotten off the bus from school -- he goes to Enterprise Middle School -- and was crossing Van Giesen at South 40th Avenue just before 3 p.m. on his way home.
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He was at the crosswalk at the time, but witnesses told police he stepped off the curb directly in front of traffic and the driver didn't have time to stop, said West Richland police Capt. Al Escalera.
No citations were issued.
"He did the proper things except for waiting," his mother told the Herald on Wednesday while waiting for her son's release from the hospital.
Stricklin had some cuts to his arm and leg, but was kept at Kennewick General Hospital overnight to make sure he did not have any internal injuries, Keever said.
She said she has talked to her son again about pedestrian safety and says his accident is a good way to remind kids and drivers to not be so distracted on the road. She said people just need to go back to what they learned in kindergarten about "stop, look and listen" before crossing the road.
"And just because you're in a crosswalk, doesn't mean you're safe," she said.
Escalera also said pedestrians need to remember that even though they're using a crosswalk, they can't rush into traffic. They have to give drivers an opportunity to stop.
Motorists, however, also should be aware of pedestrians and be prepared for unexpected crossings or pedestrians waiting to cross at corners or crosswalks, he said.
Keever also said Stricklin's principal stopped by the hospital Wednesday to see them and said the district was rearranging the bus route so the kids won't have to cross Van Giesen after getting off the bus.
-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org