CLEVELAND, Texas - Authorities in Liberty County are investigating after two teenagers were hit by a pickup truck next to Cleveland High School.
"I feel like our kids’ safety should be our number 1 priority," said Tashima Garrison.
Garrison works at Fish Tales Seafood off Highway 321 in Cleveland. She says the two teens had just purchased food at their restaurant Monday evening.
After buying the food, they had been attempting to cross Highway 321 back towards Cleveland High School. A driver in a pickup truck hit appeared to hit them while they were in a crosswalk.
The 14 and 16-year-olds had to be airlifted to a hospital in Houston. According to school officials, the teens were in stable condition Tuesday evening.
"I just feel bad because they left here and crossed the street," said Garrison. "I tell them all of the time, please be careful because drivers don't pay attention."
Police say they’re investigating to determine if the pickup truck driver had been under the influence or distracted while driving.
The roadway where the collision occurred is very busy with cars, tractor-trailers, and buses. Susan Ard, a spokesperson from Cleveland Independent School District, says there’s a separate crosswalk nearby with flashing lights that’s safer. However, where the crash occurred there aren’t flashing lights.
"It’s very busy," said Ard. "It’s very congested. We have a walkway there, and we have another crossover by the sidewalk. We’ve hired more police officers and more safety monitors, but of course that’s during the school day."
"It’s pretty scary," sad Chief Darrel Broussard from Cleveland Police Department. "Lots of concerns for all the kids that walk in that area. We try to warn our citizens about the awareness for these students walking on the edge of these roads."
Ard says the school district is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to see what sort of physical changes can be made to make the crosswalk safer.
"There's already a crosswalk," said Garrison. "I don't know if you can tell, but people don't do 50 miles per hour."