Drivers urged to watch for students

PARKERSBURG – With the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year in Wood County today, officials throughout the area are urging motorists to pay attention to the roadways and children out and about.

An accident on Blizzard Drive near Parkersburg South High School Wednesday morning sent one person to the hospital and caused Sgt. J.D. Hart with the Parkersburg Police Department to think about school safety.

“With school starting, people need to be aware of crossings and school zones,” said Hart. “Children will be near streets and at crossings before and after school and drivers need to be cautious.”

Vienna Police Chief George Young asked that drivers, especially those traveling on Grand Central Avenue during school opening and closing hours, slow down and be aware of what is going on around them.

“Drivers need to be aware there will be kids out in the morning and afternoon and they will need to abide by the laws of traffic and watch out for them,” Young said. “When the school crossing signs are flashing, slow down.”

Belpre Police Chief Ernie Clevenger said the first two days of the new school year for the city’s schools, which began Tuesday, were quiet.

“Things have been very quiet in Belpre,” Clevenger said. “We have had no accidents or near-misses, then again, we don’t have a great number of kids walking to school.”

Not only are drivers reminded to be cautious and aware of school zones and the speed limit in those zones – 20 mph in Ohio and 15 mph in West Virginia – but students must also pay attention.

“Children should be reminded to stay out of the street at bus stops,” Clevenger said.

Clevenger recommended at least one parent stay at bus stops with children to make sure things run smoothly.

In the south Parkersburg accident, driver Floyd Fought, 82, of Parkersburg was cited for failure to yield when he allegedly ran a stop sign on Belmont Road in his 1991 GMC truck and struck a 2012 Toyota Camry on Blizzard Drive at 8:24 a.m., police said.

The driver of the Camry, whose identity has been withheld, was taken to Camden Clark Medical Center’s Memorial Campus with non-life threatening injuries, Hart said.