Student in hospital after being struck by car near Sooke school

A Sooke teenager is in hospital after being struck by a car in front of Edward Milne Community School on Thursday morning.

The student was struck by a westbound vehicle on Sooke Road outside the school about 7:45 a.m. and was taken to hospital by ambulance with significant, but non-life threatening, injuries.

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The teen is in stable condition, said RCMP Cpl. Chris Manseau.

Police believe the student was struck while crossing Sooke Road from Lazzar Road, across from the high school.

Witnesses describe heavy rain at the time of the collision, which occurred just before sunrise.

Police are trying to determine if the student was in the crosswalk when hit, and whether the crosswalk light was activated.

Video from Drive B.C. around the time of the collision appears to show a person on the ground surrounded by first responders away from the crosswalk.

Alcohol was not a factor and the driver is co-operating with the investigation, police said.

The district’s critical-incident team was called to the school to support staff and students.

Sooke Coun. Ebony Logins said concerns have been raised about pedestrian safety in the area around the school.

“I think the students have been worried about it for a while,” she said. “There’s a lot in that general area that is really dangerous — for example, that crosswalk.”

Logins said Edward Milne students launched a petition a few years ago for a sidewalk on Edward Milne Road, which runs parallel to the highway. The sidewalk was added last year, along with traffic lights at Sooke River Road, just west of the school.

Logins said changes such as prohibiting left turns onto the highway from the high school would improve safety, but bad driving behaviour is also a factor.

“In front of Saseenos Elementary, drivers are driving on the edge of the road,” where students walk, Logins said. Motorists pull onto the shoulder so they don’t have to wait behind drivers making left turns.

School district superintendent Scott Stinson said he believes this is the first time a student has been hit by a car in the area, and the district is always looking for ways to improve safety for students on the highway. Three elementary schools are also along the highway.

There are flashing lights at the crosswalk in front of Edward Milne, and crossing guards help students cross the road at crosswalks near the elementary schools. The speed limit on the highway in front of the schools is 40 kilometres per hour when children are present, and 50 km/h otherwise.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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