LAKE WALES, Fla. — The city of Lake Wales is making safety improvements less than one week after 13-year-old Jadin Galindo was struck by a vehicle and killed while waiting for the bus.
Mayor Jack Hilligoss told 10 Tampa Bay the city manager has “spoken with Duke Energy and they will be installing a new light at that bus stop.”
He went on to say that the city is in communication with the Polk County School District and Lake Wales Charter School System to map out every school bus stop in the city to conduct a lighting and safety audit.
Galindo’s story is similar to that of 15-year-old Ethan Weiser, whose uncle, Matt Croasmun, is still calling for change at the intersection where Weiser was killed.
“It’s something that happened to my family, happened to another family in Polk County, and is going to keep on happening as long as Florida keeps on growing and we don’t put common sense safety processes in place,” Croasmun said.
Weiser was killed last August in Clearwater while crossing the street on a dark morning to get to his bus stop.
“Just put illuminated crosswalks or even streetlights, any one of those things until we come up with a more permanent solution,” Croasmun said. “We need it everywhere where we’re going to ask these kids to walk across roadways that were never designed for pedestrian traffic.”
Croasmun is still calling for the school board and other elected leaders to make safety reforms but says this isn’t just a local issue.
He’s calling for stricter safety guidelines for bus stop safety at a state level.
“It’s going to cause more problems, and we’re going to wish we had done something sooner rather than later,” he said.
Croasmun says he plans to speak to county officials again at a School Transportation Safety Committee meeting on March 1 in hopes that change can come before anyone else gets hurt.