As a crossing guard in her mid-30s ushered Seiberling elementary students across the street, an impatient driver jumped the curb to pass a car that was stopped at a light.
Amy Hinkle thanks the guard for saving her son's life that day in November 2010.
“If he wouldn’t have been pulled out of the way, the car would have plowed him over,” she said.
Still, her son suffered a head injury as the vehicle knocked down a “Child Crossing” sign that fell on the 11-year-old’s head.
One after another, 53 Akron police crash reports from 2010 to 2012 detail accidents and injuries, like those Austin Hinkle suffered, and the crossing guard who pulled him out of harm’s way.
The reports chronicle 53 school-age pedestrians (5 to 17 years old) who were struck by a vehicle during school hours.
Police officers could not determine if the pedestrian or the driver was at fault in 20 of the 53 cases. Other incidents, according to police report narratives, are more definitive: nine hit-skips and 17 negligent drivers, including the one who struck Hinkle.
After Hinkle was injured in early November 2010, three more students were hit before Christmas break, including two who walked in the streets because of snow piled up on the sidewalks near Buchtel High School.
Police reported those two pedestrians and five others as the cause of those accidents, accounting for seven of the 53 cases.
Victims were 28 males and 25 females. Elementary and middle school age groups accounted for 13 students each, while 27 students were high school age, with 13 being 17 years old.
Of the 39 students identified as attending Akron Public Schools, 11 were white and 28, or 72 percent, were black, Asian or other minority. The black children who were struck accounted for 59 percent of the total in a district where black students comprise less than half of all students.
If compared across the entire county where white children are more likely to be bused and account for about 80 percent of children, the disparity is far more dramatic.
Students were more likely to be hit just before or after school in January or February.
That was the case Jan. 23, 2012, when a teacher — reluctant to talk about the experience — recognized a former Jennings middle school student after striking the student, attending North High at the time, with her car as she traveled along Tallmadge Avenue.
That stretch of road, and the North cluster schools, accounted for the highest percentage of the 53 accidents. In all, 11 students attending North schools were hit by vehicles. Kenmore accounted for six. East had five. Buchtel and Firestone had four cases. And the remaining clusters, with three a piece, averaged one student hit by a vehicle in each of the past three years.