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EXCLUSIVE: Hadley parents, students raising safety awareness after hit-and-run – Western Massachusetts News

by Nov 5, 2022Blog0 comments

HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – Parents and students in Hadley came together Wednesday to raise awareness after a 13-year-old boy was hit in a crosswalk on Route 9 in October.
That boy is still recovering from his injuries. His classmates and their parents came together to urge drivers to be more careful and slow down on this road.
“It could’ve been any one of our children that day,” said parent Rebecca Casagrande.
Parents came together along Route 9 in Hadley Wednesday to put out signs, urging drivers to slow down on the street.
“This is a big commuter road for many people, and I really don’t think a lot of people realize that there’s a school here or that this crosswalk has been put here for kids who take themselves to school,” parent Meredith Vissas said. “They ride their bikes. They use their scooters. They walk. We don’t have a crossing guard.”
This comes after a 13-year-old boy was critically injured on October 11th after officials said that a white van ran a blinking red light, hit the boy, and continued driving.
Close friends of the victim told Western Mass News how this has affected them.
“I mean, I was just worried,” said 8th grader Nora Dowd. “I wanted to know if this person was okay, and I think just like, we wanted to make sure everybody else was okay and just helping each other out.”
Classmates told us what they want to see changed.
“We would like a school zone because there is no school zone here,” 8th grader Autumn Casagrande told us.
Parents told Western Mass News that they have been in touch with state legislators to help get the Department of Transportation to work on new engineering plans for the area, and students hope this will help ensure their safety walking to school.
“I really think that putting these kinds of signs up could just make sure that this doesn’t happen again. This is a road with a lot of traffic, a lot of fast cars, and there are many students who walk places from here, and it can be pretty dangerous,” said 8th grader Calli Regash. “It shouldn’t be us having to pay attention as much as the drivers.”
Members of UMass fraternities also turned out to help in the campaign as this is a situation they know all too well.
“At UMass, we’re very familiar with this type of tragedy,” said junior Duncan Lepera of Zeta Beta Tau, Theta Alpha. “Unfortunately, you know, even in the last year, we’ve had some incidents like this, so very much, like, it hits close to home when we hear something like this happening outside of our own immediate community, but still in the area, especially to a kid who’s so young.”
Meanwhile, police continue to search for the van involved in the hit-and-run, and parents are doing what they can to help.
“We are putting together a mailing to all auto-related businesses – auto body shops, Ford dealerships, part stores, junkyards, anywhere that would maybe have access to parts,” Rebecca said. “We know at this point, it’s been three weeks. Chances are the vehicle that left that day or didn’t slow down is maybe fixed, and so, we can put off the mailing and the more hands the better.”
If you have any information on the vehicle involved in this accident, please contact Hadley Police or the Northwestern District Attorney.
Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.