CLAYTON -- Two young sisters were hospitalized after being hit by a car outside Mt. Diablo Elementary School on Tuesday morning during a morning drop-off period that parents say has gotten "out of control."
About 8 a.m., the two girls, ages 6 and 9, were dropped off by their mother on Four Oaks Lane when they ran across traffic queued on Mitchell Canyon Road and were hit by a minivan driving northbound, police Chief Dan Lawrence said. Their mother, still pulled off on the side street, rushed to the girls as they lay in the street.
"The impact made such a loud sound," said Leslie Braun, a Clayton resident who lives adjacent to the intersection. "I ran out of my house and saw a little girl crying in the street."
Emergency crews took the girls to the hospital to be treated for their injuries, Lawrence said. Both girls were released later Tuesday morning, he said.
The 40-year-old driver of the minivan, who was driving below the speed limit, remained on scene and was cooperative with police, Lawrence said.
According to Lawrence, the incident was caught on a dashboard camera by an officer who was on scene monitoring the morning traffic flow. That officer will continue to investigate the case.
The incident brings to light the safety issues present on Mitchell Canyon Road, a route traveled heavily by trucks driving down to the quarry. The road becomes especially congested during the morning rush to get children to school, parents say.
"There are no sidewalks, it is not even safe to walk down there," Braun said. "The only crossing guard is at Pine Hollow and Mitchell Canyon."
According to Braun, parents and children dart constantly across the road near where the accident took place, despite signs reading, "This is not a crossing area."
"Obviously no one pays attention to the signs. No one is enforcing it," Braun said. "The walkway between the neighborhoods goes right through there -- I guess my question is, why is there no crosswalk?"
According to Lawrence, the problem has less to do with markings on the street, and more to do with community compliance.
"There's a crosswalk 25 yards from there," Lawrence said. "In any case, pedestrians have the right of way -- you're just supposed to cross the street when you're supposed to."
Police conduct an educational program with Mt. Diablo Elementary school to inform the public of the best ways to keep safe around the busy school property, Lawrence said.
"I think our busy lives contribute to us taking shortcuts in some cases, which leads to the breakdown of safety recommendations," Lawrence said. "There just can't be a crosswalk on every corner."
Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.