(Lander, WY) – On the morning of Tuesday, August 30, a 9-year-old girl riding her bike to school at Baldwin Creek Elementary was tragically, and non-fatally, struck by a vehicle turning from Main Street onto Baldwin Creek Road.
Confirmable details were limited at the time when County 10 shared that an incident was causing blockage and traffic diversion, but Lander Police Department (LPD) Chief Scott Peters has provided more information today, September 1.
Chief Peters added that information was not made immediately public, “out of respect to the families,” and due to the fact the incident involved children.
According to Chief Peters, a young girl was riding her bike on the crosswalk at the beginning of Baldwin Creek Road, when a vehicle turning left from Main Street onto Baldwin struck her without realizing it, and dragged the child a short distance before being flagged down by passersby to get them to stop.
“The driver had poor visibility due to the sun,” Chief Peters stated, and added that the light was green when they made their turn, but the girl had not cleared the crosswalk completely.
Eyewitness accounts state that multiple people flagged down the driver, and there happened to be a nurse on scene that helped treat the girl until emergency responders arrived.
Further information about the driver and incident is unavailable due to the fact the investigation is still ongoing, but Chief Peters did confirm no charges have been filed against the driver as of this writing.
As for the condition of the injured girl, Chief Peters commented that she is “okay, but hurt” and was flown to Denver for treatment.
Comments from family members on social media state that she “has a long road ahead of her as far as healing and pain management,” and will “lose the use of her right hand and need to learn to be left handed.”
The following email was also sent to parents of Baldwin Creek Elementary students in regards to her condition later in the day on Tuesday.
“One of our Baldwin Creek Elementary students was involved in an accident this morning while she was riding her bike to school. BCE administration has been in contact with her family and are happy to share that she is doing well. We would like families to be aware in case your child has questions and/or concerns tonight. Counselors are available at all schools if your child needs additional support.”
In terms of addressing what many commenters have stated is a very dangerous intersection, Chief Peters shared that LPD has already reached out to WYDOT on how to make the intersection safer, and possibly “re-engineering” how the crosswalk signs operate.
(Main Street is a state highway, so WYDOT is responsible for any changes to street light and electronic crosswalk signage.)
There have also been volunteer crosswalk guards on duty both days following the Tuesday incident, which Chief Peters said is “definitely a short-term solution” as other long-term ones are looked into.
County 10 will provide more information as to the condition of the girl and any potential further steps on updating the crosswalk once it becomes available.