On Saturday, October 10, hundreds of people gathered at Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton for a suicide prevention walk. Our first lap was interrupted by screams. A little boy that was not part of the walk had run from his mother out into the road and was hit by a car.
Hundreds of walkers had witnessed it; some even tried to catch the young child, but no one was able to prevent it. Some of our walkers in the medical field assisted until rescue crews arrived. We all stopped and waited while rescue personnel attended to the young boy.
While we eventually regrouped and walked on, every one of us was impacted by what happened, and we worried for the mother and family. After all, there were many children in the walk with us. That could have happened to any one of us.
Churchville Avenue runs alongside the park, alongside the playground. While the speed limit is only 25 mph, it occured to us that there should have been a fence along the road a long time ago.
While we walked, we all held the children in our lives a little closer. And agreed that we needed to approach the city and ask that a fence be erected along the park’s perimeter along Churchville Avenue.
We circulated a petition to walkers and gathered hundreds of signatures.
And we had planned to post an online petition this week.
As fate would have it, one of the walkers knows someone in the Staunton City Manager’s office, and she mentioned what happened on Saturday and the petition.
Staunton didn’t wait for us to submit a petition. By Tuesday afternoon, temporary fencing had already been erected where the accident occurred.
The young child from Saturday luckily escaped with only minor injuries – cuts and bruises, no stitches required, no concussion and no internal injuries.
Families who use the park thank you. The 600+ of us walking Saturday thank you. Kudos to Staunton for doing the right thing.
Kudos to Staunton for preventing a tragedy.
– Column by Crystal Graham