Crash site to remain without crossing guard in Penn Hills
Penn Hills School District says a bus stop where a crossing guard was injured in a crash last month will remain unmanned.
“Our hearts skip a beat every time we wait for a car to stop,” Tiffeney Pizzonia said while watching her kindergartner get off the bus and cross Hulton Road near Frankstown and Saltsburg roads.
On the afternoon of Oct. 2, crossing guard Kenneth Cleveland, 70, of Penn Hills was struck by a car that lost control and wrecked into a utility pole he was leaning against. The accident put Cleveland in intensive care at Forbes Regional Hospital for about a week.
Parents said the accident increased their concern about safety at the bus stop. Vehicles don’t always stop for the buses’ yield arm or obey the 30-mph speed limit, they said.
There is a traffic light at the corner of Frankstown and Saltsburg, which is about a half block away.
Director of Business Affairs Richard Liberto said the district has changed the bus route and that no complaints about the bus stop’s safety have reached him. Parents said that although the bus takes a different route, children still must cross the road.
Jody Bollinger, the father of a first-grader, said he has been acting as an unofficial crossing guard to ensure the four elementary-age students who use the stop get across the street safely.
Pizzonia said she now drives her two kids to Linton Middle School. She said she’s not comfortable with them waiting at the stop alone in the morning.
Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton said he doesn’t think the corner is especially dangerous.
“Really, if it had been 20 kids standing there, would a crossing guard really have prevented anything?” Burton said.
Toxicology tests for the driver are not complete, and no charges have been filed, he said.
Cleveland’s family said his health is slowly improving, but he remains in pain. The impact of the crash threw Cleveland 25 to 30 feet into the middle of the intersection, according to police.
“He’s got a long way to go,” said his son, Kenneth Cleveland.
Cleveland never expressed concerns about his safety, his son said.
“We were kind of caught off guard,” he said. “Dad always picks my mom up from volunteering at The Salvation Army at five o’clock, but he didn’t show up, and we started to get worried.”
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7845 or [email protected].