New Brunswick community demands change after car strikes 3 kids crossing Livingston Avenue

A community is calling for change after three children were hit while crossing a street by a car driven by New Brunswick's fire director Tuesday. (5/7/14)

NEW BRUNSWICK - A community is calling for change after three children were hit while crossing a street by a car driven by New Brunswick's fire director Tuesday. 

Residents say Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick can be very dangerous and that the crash was no surprise. 

Neighbors say many drivers speed down the road even though the posted limit is 25 mph. "I think they need to have more precaution, especially for the kids and especially for the elder people," says Maria Medina. 

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New Brunswick Fire Director Ronald Rawls was driving the car that hit the three kids while they were walking home from school. The Middlesex County prosecutor is investigating and will be looking into how fast Rawls was driving. So far, no charges have been filed.

Demonstrators at a city council meeting Wednesday insisted motorists driving dangerously rarely get prosecuted or even ticketed for ignoring crossing guards and pedestrians.

As two 14-year-old girls and a 6-year-old boy recover at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, the community is demanding changes to prevent this from happening again. 

Medina says her mother was severely injured while crossing Livingston in November. "When my mom got hit - four people died before her," she says. "They need to do something with this street. "

Mayor Jim Cahill says there normally would have been a crossing guard at the intersection, but the old guard quit a few weeks ago and the new one is still training.

"We try to put police officers when available," Cahill says, but that "would depend on the availability of the police officer and what's going on in the city at that time."

Cahill says even before Tuesday's crash, the city had been working to make the street safer. A study has been commissioned to look into options to make drivers slow down such as narrowing the road or adding pedestrian medians.  

But those projects could take a year or two, and residents say Livingston Avenue needs to get safer sooner than that.

The city council told the demonstrators change would be difficult since it is a county road.

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