Mother of Edmonton girl struck by school bus asks city council to make changes on road
Trisha L. Kasawski says her life has been turned upside down since her 13-year-old suffered serious injuries when she was hit by a school bus in Edmonton’s southwest.
“I’m there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I would not want to be anywhere else, but it’s exhausting for the family,” she said.
“It’s hard to watch her suffer. It’s changed our family for sure.”
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.
Kasawski said her daughter, Devony, sustained a basal skull fracture, broken sinus cavity, broken pelvis, fractured sacrum, bruised lung, broken jaw and brain injury when her and another 13-year-old girl were hit by the bus on March 8.
The family is not sure of the extent of Devony’s head trauma and brain injury.
On Wednesday morning, Kasawski was one of the speakers during a Community and Public Services Committee, when a recommendation was being considered to reduce speed limits for residential roads from 50 km/h to 40 km/h or 30 km/h.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton city councillors weighed the pros and cons of lowering speed limits in residential neighbourhoods. As Vinesh Pratap reports, a compromise is now on the table.
Devony was struck at a crossing on Hemingway Road at 206 Street. The area has a speed limit of 50 km/h and is in between two school zones, which have speed limits of 30 km/h. Kasawski is calling for more crosswalks to be installed and a consistent reduced speed limit along the road.
“Three children in a week crossing that same street getting hit is just ridiculous,” Kasawski said.
“Obviously there’s something else going on and it’s such a wide road. There’s no markings on the road, there’s no meridians, there’s no crosswalks. It’s just a recipe for disaster at this point.
“Just because of the bends in the road and also that 500-metre space where it does increase to 50 km/h from 30 km/h, it is inevitable that people are going to get hurt.”
Kasawski said it’s well known among residents that Hemingway Road is dangerous, but she said changing the speed limit could still be challenging.
“It can be apathetic: ‘If it’s not my neighbourhood, [it’s] not my problem,’ or it’s inconvenient: ‘I want to get to where I need to go fast, so I want to drive as fast as possible,'” she said.
“They’re used to victim blaming or blaming the driver, but we all have to work together because safety is very important.”
Kasawski said speaking to councillors Wednesday made her feel “heard.”
“When a tragedy happens you just want to feel like you’re doing something meaningful and this is what I can do for my daughter. As a social justice advocate that she is, I feel like I’m lifting her up.”
Police said charges are pending against the 44-year-old bus driver involved in the collision that left Devony seriously injured.
During the committee meeting Wednesday, Councillor Bev Esslinger put forward a motion to use 40 km/h the default speed limit on residential roads. A draft bylaw on the topic will be brought back to council for debate on April 24.
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