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Chesterfield Police cruiser crash

After son nearly dies, mom questions why road is not a school zone : ‘It’s insane’

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Midlothian mom is pushing for an urgent long-term solution she believes will protect kids, after her son’s life changed forever one day while walking to school.

“He remembers everything up until he got hit. Everything went black from there, he doesn't remember anything, there’s like two days of spotty memory,” Tara Traas explained.

Tristan and mom

On January 11 around 7 a.m., Traas’ 15-year-old son, Tristan Loving, was crossing Charter Colony Parkway in front of Midlothian High School, when he was hit by a car and rushed to the hospital.

“When I got there, he couldn’t open his eyes. The nurses were giving me all his clothes that they had to cut off him,” Traas recalled.

She said Tristan broke bones in his neck and leg and suffered a brain injury.

Tristan

“I had really bad headaches my first couple days, my lungs hurt a lot and so did my neck,” Tristan explained.

Several weeks after the accident, the normally active teenager uses a walker as he regains strength, balance, and motor skills and his days are filled with doctor appointments.

Tristan’s family is circulating a GoFundMe page and flyers to raise funds to cover medical expenses on his road to recovery.

“He’s really lucky, we’ve had two or three doctors say he’s really fortunate and that God doesn’t give too many second chances,” Traas said, looking at her son.

Tristan

In hindsight, Traas says an accident like this was inevitable because, despite the crosswalk Loving was using right in front of a school, there are no flashing yellow lights, no school zone signs, no crossing guards, and the speed limit on Charter Colony Parkway is 35 miles per hour.

“Not having those flashing lights, I mean really, it’s a school zone, it’s just insane to me,” expressed Traas.

However, CBS 6 Problem Solvers dug deeper into the issue and discovered, that according to VDOT, the stretch of road in front of Midlothian High School is not a school zone. And even though Charter Colony Parkway is a busy thoroughfare, carrying about 8,900 vehicles every day, because of red tape, making the area a school zone, would not be an overnight process.

VDOT told CBS 6 Problem Solvers, once Chesterfield County Public Schools submits an application to have the speed limit reduced, VDOT engineers would evaluate and either approve or deny the request.

“They will go through and do a full review of the area, see the number of crashes that occurred there, and the speed that traffic is comfortable traveling through there,” explained VDOT spokeswoman Bethany Glover.

It is a process Traas says needs to be handled with urgency and would be worth every penny if it meant no one else’s child would suffer.

Chesterfield County Schools provided Cbs 6 this statement:

"The school division is recommending a reduced speed school zone with flashing lights.  We have met with VDOT, and VDOT has requested we submit the recommendation through their permit application which they will review and conduct a traffic study."

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