4WD claims young life on way to school

The Daily Telegraph

Thursday 25 July 2002

By ANGELA KAMPER


A GRIEVING father was being counselled last night after seeing his five-year-old daughter knocked down and killed outside her northern beaches school.

Bethany Holder was following her father and 11-year-old sister on to school grounds when she was hit by a 4WD about 8.30am yesterday.

The kindergarten student was walking in single file behind her father and sister in Parkes Rd, Collaroy.

She was crushed by the 4WD as it attempted to turn into a parking spot at Pittwater House Preparatory School.

The 28-year-old woman from Ingleside, who was driving the red Nissan Patrol, was also dropping her child off to school.

She is believed to have turned into the parking spot without seeing the young girl.

“The driver turned across the footpath to get into the car space inside the school grounds and hit the girl,” Inspector Jeff Bell of Dee Why police said.

She was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital with head and chest injuries.

“The little girl was taken to intensive care where she was in a critical condition,” Insp Bell said.

Crash investigators are examining the scene to determine how the accident occurred. “With the size of the 4WD and the height of the girl, it appears the driver hasn't seen her,” Insp Bell said.

The driver is assisting the police with their inquiries.

“Everybody is very upset here today,” Pittwater House executive officer Richard Morgan said.

“We are in the process of organising counselling for the families.”

Each student was issued with a letter to take home to their parents after the school learned that Bethany had died at 1pm.

Mr Morgan said the matter was in the hands of the police and that the school would be waiting on a report from the coroner. Bethany is the 12th school-age child in NSW to be killed after being hit by a car in the past 18 months.

Figures released on Tuesday show five of the children were hit on their way to or from school.

Forty children have been injured travelling to or from school in the first four months of this year.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said there needed to be a ban on cars stopping in school zones and bus zones, and a ban on double parking near schools.

“Parking around school zones can be just as lethal as driving,” he said.

“These large vehicles are very dangerous around school zones.

“They're not cars they're small trucks.”