Oklahoma City paramedics urge more caution after rash of auto-pedistrian accidents

Wednesday, April 30th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Paramedics alarmed by a sharp increase of motor-vehicle accidents involving children urged drivers to be more cautious in school zones and residential areas.

``Since April 1, we've had an extraordinary number of auto/pedestrian accidents involving children,'' said Paul O'Leary, a spokesman for the Emergency Medical Services Authority.

``We're trying to get a message out, something along the lines of, 'Hey, kiddos, look both ways.'''

Fourteen young pedestrians have been hit by motor vehicles this month, said Brent Kinsey, EMSA's director of operations. Two children died.

Typically, the city sees only one to two such accidents per month, Kinsey said. A recent study found Oklahoma City is the fifth-safest city in the nation for pedestrians.

``It's a tragedy for parents when this happens to their children,'' Kinsey said. ``But it's also a tragedy for drivers who have to live with the consequences of their actions.''

Kinsey also said paramedics are affected by accidents involving children.

``Emotionally, the impact is far worse for them when they're with small children and broken lives,'' he said.

Medic Barbie Martin said she and partner Craig Gage treated back-to-back cases in which youths were victims of auto/pedestrian accidents. One child died.

``I've been doing this five years, and it doesn't get any easier, no matter what they tell you,'' said Martin as she fought back tears.

Schools are hubs of activity for children, even when the flashing lights are not on.