Daycare hangs ribbons for support, awareness after multiple people hit by cars

Oct 20, 2023, 10:00 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2023, 12:19 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — A daycare center in between the locations of two recent auto-pedestrian crashes is rallying the community together to support the families, while raising awareness along the street.

The first crash on Monday, left a 12-year-old boy hospitalized. Another on Thursday, killed a 57-year-old man. According to Cottonwood Heights City, there were three auto-pedestrian incidents this week in the city, but the ones Monday and Thursday took place on the same stretch of Fort Union Boulevard between Highland Drive and 2300 East.

Mother’s Helper Child Care Center is within eyesight of the crosswalk that boy was hit in on Monday. Center director Catrina Ramos and assistant director Rachel Ferre both heard the screech of cars and saw traffic start piling up on the road.

Ferre and Ramos explained the center uses that crosswalk daily to pick children up from Bella Vista Elementary School.

It’s already been a problem spot, they expressed.

“It is so scary crossing that street,” Ferre said. “I have seen the crossing guards almost get hit, other people almost get hit. I’ve even almost gotten hit before.”

She said it’s her worst nightmare to see someone get hurt so badly.

As soon as they realized a child was hit in the crosswalk Monday, Ramos ran out to help. She recognized the 12-year-old boy lying in the road, because she said he used to attend their daycare for years.

In fact, Ramos is the one who called his parents.

“We become so involved with the families, that they’re still a part of our family here,” she said. “So, it hits a little bit harder.”

Cottonwood Heights Police suspect the driver who hit the boy was under the influence. Ramos could see the orange flag he had been holding, and the city said the boy was doing everything he was supposed to do.

“It’s a really hard reality to see somebody hurt and especially a child — especially a child that did everything right,” Ramos said.

While waiting for updates on his condition this has been weighing on their minds all week.

“Since we were close with the family for a lot of years, we wanted to figure out something to do, just to let them know your community’s behind you,” Ramos said.

They decided to hang ribbons down the street, and chose the color green because it represents hope.

Mother’s Helper Child Care Center also began to hand out ribbons to parents, and printed up letters asking others to hang green ribbon around town.

“Just kind of light up this city with the green ribbons to show the support to the family,” Ramos said.

“That way everywhere where the family is, they can see the ribbons,” Ferre said. “And so, they can know we’re here, we’re supporting them, and we love them.”

While the ribbons are meant to show the family that love, the two explained that it’s also to spread a message for drivers to pay attention and slow down, and bring awareness to the city about a crosswalk that others told KSL TV this week they’ve felt was already an issue.

“I figure if the community comes together, shows their support, then maybe a little bit more recognition would happen in the city of Cottonwood Heights … to kind of be more cautious and have something happen as to a stoplight or a better crossing situation,” Ramos said.

On Friday, Cottonwood Heights City put out a press release, addressing the three recent incidents and urging residents and drivers to be cautious and follow a list of safety tips.

City Manager Tim Tingey wrote that he and the city council are taking steps to improve road safety, and recently approved a budget amendment to hire additional police officers with a focus on traffic and transportation safety.

“The presence of these additional officers will enhance efforts to prevent accidents involving DUI-impaired drivers and will also provide an enhanced presence to address drivers who are speeding on our roadways and other safety concerns on roads during low visibility hours,” he wrote.

He also addressed the crosswalk where the 12-year-old boy was hit.

“The City Council will be evaluating and discussing speed limits on Ft. Union Boulevard and working with UDOT to fast-track the Bella Vista crossing light improvements,” he wrote.

With ribbons now lining the street, Ferre and Ramos will continue sending their message in the aftermath.

“We want to raise hope for the family,” Ramos said, “hope for the community that we can try and get something going and solved.”

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Daycare hangs ribbons for support, awareness after multiple people hit by cars