This was written by teacher Sue Cirillo
I am a resident of the neighborhood by which the Whitman student was struck by an SUV on Jan. 14.
I am also a teacher at Silas Wood Sixth Grade Center, also part of South Huntington Schools as is Walt Whitman High School. I have lived in my neighborhood for almost nine years and drive from Jones onto Jericho and return from Jericho to Jones Lane at the end of the day which I have done daily during the school year. Though I was not a witness to the accident, I can share my personal viewpoints.
The traffic on Jericho Turnpike during "rush hours" is horrendous.
In addition, many cars use Jones Lane to detour to Oakwood Road which has a "no turn on red" sign during these times.
I have personally witnessed on average three to four vehicles run through the red light at West Hills Road every morning heading west on Jericho Turnpike. This same situation happens almost EVERY time I attempt to pull onto Jericho heading east.
There is no regard for red lights in most cases, but especially from what I have seen at this intersection. What makes this even more disheartening is that there is a school just south of this intersection with no signs to indicate such. In addition, students tend to cross Jericho from south to north through the West Hills Cemetery which has poor visibility.
There are no strong street lights there so it is not surprising that the driver of the SUV was unable to see this young man. However, was he or she speeding through a red light? Was he or she texting while driving?
I find it quite disturbing that those who have commented on the behavior of the young man who was struck fail to consider the driver who actually crashed into the young man.
Any cautious driver who is aware of his/her surroundings would have seen this youngster. The child was walking home from school, not leaving a local pub. As a teacher, I can't grasp the concept of placing the blame on the student when the blame should be on the driver. No student wants to get hit by an Expedition or any other car for that matter. The driver did not see him until it was too late. I wonder if he would have sped away if there were no witnesses.
As stated, I have seen cars drive excessively, through red lights exhibiting reckless behaviors DAILY because I live at this location.
So, perhaps, the readers who are so quick to judge this young boy should spend a day at West Hills Road and Jericho Turnpike and see what I see every day. Maybe they wouldn't accuse the young boy of making a mistake and would see things differently.