The mother of a 13-year-old Edmonton girl who suffered serious injuries when she and another 13-year-old girl were struck by a school bus in the city’s southwest last week has written an open letter to the mayor, calling for changes to the speed limit.
Charges are pending against the 44-year-old driver of the bus after the girls were struck while crossing Hemingway Road at 206 Street at around 4 p.m. Friday.
One of the girls, Devony, remained in hospital Thursday. In an open letter on Facebook, the girl’s mother, Trisha L. Kasawski, said her daughter has been going in and out of consciousness, with a brain injury, skull fracture, broken sinus cavity, broken jaw, bruised lung and shattered pelvis.
The girl’s family is not sure of the extent of her head trauma and brain injury.
“She is my daughter, a sister, a niece, a friend, a cousin, a straight A student, a horse jumper, a musician, an animal lover and an advocate for social justice,” Kasawski wrote.
“She has more specialists than I can count. She cries out for me multiple times a day in fear and pain, when all she should be worrying about is how to do her hair and what to post on Instagram. Over and over she asks where she is; she drinks water from a syringe.”
Kasawski said her daughter’s rehabilitation will take months, if not years.
“It is truly a miracle that I am beside my daughter’s hospital bed rather than beside her casket.”
She said Devony’s nine-year-old brother witnessed the incident and her 11-year-old sister “just wants us to be home.”
Kasawski said she is afraid to let her children walk home or cross the street. She said the speed limit on Hemingway Road switches between 30 km/h and 50 km/h, as the roadway winds past a couple of schools — Bessie Nichols and Sister Annata Brockman.
The area where the collision took place has a speed limit of 50 km/h and is in between the two school zones, which have speed limits of 30 km/h.
“Alternating speed limits from 30 km/h to 50km/h, and back to 30km/h between two schools within 900 metres of each other without crosswalks is unacceptable in this great city we call home,” she said.
Kasawski is calling on the city to permanently change the speed limit along the entire stretch of roadway to 30 km/h.
“There is no more time to debate it, no more time to shuffle paperwork, and no more time to figure out where the funds are coming from,” she said.
“It is imperative to implement these changes before another child is hit and more lives are permanently changed. Let’s show my daughter that her pain isn’t wasted. Let’s prove to Devony that we can make our neighbourhoods safer.”
Watch below: There are calls from residents in a west Edmonton neighbourhood for changes to be made after a collision between a school bus and two young girls. Julia Wong has the details.
The public plea comes at the same time city councillors are being asked to set slower neighbourhood speed limits. On Thursday afternoon, councillors will receive several reports ahead of next week’s meeting of the Community and Public Services Committee.
Included will be a recommendation for residential roads — which mostly have speed limits of 50 km/h now — to be reduced to 40 km/h or even 30 km/h.