'What does it take to move the dial?' Parents push for school zone signs after child is hit by car

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
German Brooklyn School parents concerned over speeding cars in school in zone
German School Brooklyn parents call for more school safety zone measures after child is struck by speeding car. Joe Torres has the exclusive story.

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (WABC) -- It's a parent's worst nightmare.

Wednesday made it one week since Fritz Dietl and his wife Claudia Michaels received the news that their daughter was hit by a car just steps from her school.

12-year-old Lea Dietl followed the directions of an ambulance driver who stopped at the intersection right outside her school.

"The ambulance driver waved her to go to the other side," said Fritz Dietl, Lea's father, exclusively to Eyewitness News. "A car went through the red light in the bus lane around the ambulance and hit her."

Thankfully, Lea only suffered a few cuts and bruises in what could have easily been a tragic accident.

The incident has left the family, along with many parents at the German School Brooklyn shaken.

Lea is a 6th grader at the school, which opened its doors in January.

About 200 students in grades K-8 attend the private school.

One concern that has since come up following the accident is the fact that there is no 'School Traffic Zone' sign in the area where cars are often seen speeding along the ever-busy Rogers Avenue.

Eyewitness News was in the area and saw drivers zipping along in the bus lane right outside the school.

Recognizing this issue early on, administrators of the school and parents kicked off their quest for safety designation by contacting the city's Department of Transportation shortly after the ribbon cutting nearly five months ago.

"They said yes, it will take some time, it will take some months, you should reach out to the community board," said Melissa Bourgeois of German School Brooklyn. "We reached out to the community board, and they have been very supportive, but we know that it's the city that can actually move things forward."

Yah Jeffries, a parent at the school, hopes things move forward sooner than later.

"You are dealing with the city bureaucracy, and we don't want to wait until there is a tragedy for them to do something," said Jeffries, before adding, "So the question becomes what does it take to move the dial?"

Eyewitness News reached out to the D.O.T.

In a statement, a spokesperson said, "We're continuing to evaluate ways we can enhance safety at schools not only in Crown Heights, but citywide."

The DOT also said part of the evaluation includes "the potential deployment of mobile speed cameras in the vicinity of the school."

Parents now have a petition with more than 260 signatures, which is a move designed to accelerate that evaluation before some young student gets seriously hurt or, even worse, killed.

For Claudia Michaels, mother of Lea, there's a number of measures that need to get implemented.

"We need to have school zone signs on the street," she said. "Speed limits, cameras."

"What we have now is drivers speeding, running red lights, using the bus lane to pass other vehicles," said Iker Blazquez, another parent at the school. "It's really scary."


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