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City of Jacksonville to ask for additional safety review after accident

A 16-year-old Jacksonville High School boy was hit by a school bus on Friday, February 9, 2018. (Merrilee Moore, NewsChannel 12 photo)

The City of Jacksonville announced Friday it will request an additional review by the N.C. Department of Transportation of the area where a Jacksonville High School was hit by a bus Friday morning.

The accident happened while the student was crossing Gum Branch Road. Jacksonville Police responded to a crash in which a pedestrian was struck by a school bus at 6:37 a.m. Friday. The crash occurred at the 1800 block of Gum Branch Road in the vicinity of Fire Station 2, near Jacksonville High School.

The pedestrian, a 16-year-old boy, was transported to US Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune with serious injuries, a representative of Jacksonville Department of Public Safety said. He is said to be recovering in the Intensive Care Unit. Out of respect for the family's privacy, officials are not releasing his name at this time.

Below is the full press release sent out Friday evening by the City of Jacksonville.

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Jacksonville will request an additional review by the NC Department of Transportation for the area where a student was injured Friday morning crossing Gum Branch Road to Jacksonville High School.

The City regrets this unfortunate incident and offers thoughts and prayers for the student and his family.

A previous study was made by NC Department of Transportation (NC DOT) at the request of the City for safety around the school. It led to additional sidewalks being installed, pedestrian crossing lights, and improved pavement markings to help guide pedestrian traffic as well as to warn motorists of those crossing the streets. Over the last three years, more than 2,000 feet of sidewalks have also been installed in area neighborhoods.

A Corridor Safety Project request for Gum Branch Road is pending before the NC DOT and the City hopes to hear this summer about potential funding for medians and additional crosswalks.

Students are asked to cross only in marked crossings, and to only use crossings where pedestrian safety lights are installed.

Jacksonville will ask the NC DOT to review the area around Jacksonville High School for options that could further improve safety before the Corridor Safety Project is considered.

Jacksonville police regularly patrol school safety zones as time allows. Absent emergency calls, officers are assigned to every school safety zone during the opening and closing of schools.

In the interim, Citizens are asked to notify Police if they see someone that does not stop for a red light, school bus or other violation that could harm students or pedestrians. There’s an online form for the Citizen’s Involved Traffic Enforcement (CITE) program at the City’s website (www.jacksonvillenc.gov). Officers follow up on every report made through the CITE program.

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