Two days after six-year-old Ashley Jeronimus was hit by a car just yards from her family's Agassiz home, her father paces Ashton Road, staring at a 40-foot skid mark and contemplating what could have been.
"It was a complete miracle she wasn't killed," Marvin Jeronimus told the Times Friday.
Around 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, Ashley was returning from a neighbour's house with her mother Kathy. After a car passed, Ashley moved ahead of Kathy, intending to cross the street. She didn't see a car coming the opposite direction.
The driver of the car tried to brake, as evidenced by the skid marks. But she couldn't stop in time. Ashley was hit and flew up onto the car's hood and windshield, which broke in the collision.
The young girl was taken to hospital, treated for various cuts and bruises, and released.
The driver of the vehicle was ticketed for driving without due care and attention, although Mounties told Ashley's father that the car wasn't speeding on the 50 km/h road. But that's little consolation for Jeronimus, who is pressing the District of Kent to take action to slow drivers down on Ashton, which is crowded by fences and hedges and has no sidewalks.
"The road is too short for a speed limit of 50," he said.
Not that most people adhere to that limit.
Jeronimus said commuters who work just up the road-Kent and Mountain institutions and Rimex are both located on nearby Cameron Road-use Ashton to try and bypass downtown Agassiz.
The problem is that the shortcut doesn't actually save much time.
"It's a shortcut," Jeronimus said, "but it's really not any shorter unless you speed."
Jeronimus would like to see traffic calming devices like speedhumps placed on Ashton.
"If we have speedbumps here, they may not want to take it as a shortcut," he said.
Kent Mayor John Van Laerhoven told the Times that speeding is a known problem on Ashton Road and throughout Agassiz (although he noted that it's a concern that's hardly limited to his municipality).
Van Laerhoven, who met with Jeronimus on Thursday, said he was actually surprised to hear that the car that hit Ashley wasn't speeding. Last spring a group of people approached council as a designation to ask for ways to curb the speeding.
Residents suggested traffic control measures, including three-way stop intersections and roundabouts. A committee was struck, and Van Laerhoven says solutions are still being considered.
But he noted that each proposed solution also has its problems. Van Laerhoven said that Ashton is designated a collector road, intended to deliver drivers to the nearby highway.
The road has already seen improvements. But Van Laerhoven said a smoother driving surface and wider road may actually be encouraging speeding.
"It's a two-edged sword," he said. "When it was older and narrower and full of potholes, maybe it was safer."
Jeronimus-who had already installed a children at play sign on a telephone pole before the accident- says he won't stop pushing for a fix until drivers are forced to slow down.
"It has to be done," he told the Times the next day. "If they're not going to do it, I'll make sure it happens, whether I go to my MLA or whoever, whatever it takes."
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