Father urges drivers to be careful after girl, 12, hit twice in crosswalks

A 12-year-old girl who has been hit by cars not once, but twice, while using marked crosswalks near her school in St. Albert is offering up some tips to pedestrians.

'She knows everything she needs to do – it’s people driving who are the concern,' says Francois Busque

Avery Chugg, 12, has been hit twice while using crosswalks in and around St. Albert this year. Her father Francois Busque says Avery is already doing everything she can to stay safe as a pedestrian - and that it's now up to drivers to shape up. (CBC)

A 12-year-old girl who has been hit by vehicles not once, but twice, while using marked crosswalks near her school in St. Albert is offering up some tips to pedestrians.

The first time she was hit, Avery Chugg was running across the street with her mother and a group of other people, with the light in their favour when a truck turning left drove into her.

In October, she was hit a second time while using a crosswalk at a controlled intersection near École Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d'Youville School. This time, it was a 2005 Chevrolet Blazer SUV that knocked her over.

"I didn't hear or see anything and it just hit me," the Grade 7 student said.

While she was not seriously hurt in either crash, the two incidents have left Avery and her parents shaken.

“Both times I wasn’t with her so I got the phone call and it always starts off ‘don’t worry, don’t panic – Avery was hit by a car,’” her father Francois Busque said.

Busque said he finds the pair of crashes particularly frustrating because Avery is already doing everything she can to stay safe.

He said she wears a brightly-coloured jacket and takes her earbuds out before crossing – and always waits for the crosswalk sign.

“She knows everything she needs to do – it’s people driving who are the concern,” he said.

And Busque said that surprises him, especially since the city has cracked down on driving infractions in school zones this year.

He also noted the second crash happened right beside Avery’s school, which has been marked as a school zone “forever," and is close to where six-year-old Thomas Wedman was struck and killed by a school bus in September 2013.

"You would think people would be more mindful," he said. “So that kind of worries me.”

As for Avery, she is remaining pragmatic. Since the second crash she’s changed her walking route, switching to a crosswalk where she has a better view of cars approaching in both directions.

She also has this advice for other pedestrians: “Aside from just looking both ways when you cross the street – don’t look straight ahead, keep your head turning a little bit, make sure nothing’s coming.”

According to Busque, the second driver who hit his daughter has been charged with failing to yield to a pedestrian. The charge carries a $575 fine.


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