ROSEMONT–– The potentially illegal actions of a student and an LMSD school bus contributed to an accident that took place Monday at the corner of Ithan Ave and Harriton High School’s west driveway. A large SUV was totaled when it swerved to avoid hitting a car exiting the student driveway, causing it to collide with a utility pole.
The accident transpired when, according to an eyewitness, both the school bus and mid sized car failed to stop at the stop sign while turning left at the end of Harriton’s east driveway, confusing a driver who had the right of way and causing them to swerve to avoid the left-turning vehicles.
The crash––occurring at approximately 2:50 PM, which is the peak time students leave Harriton–– marks at least the third accident to occur in front of the high school this academic year. Harriton TV has confirmed that the main car which according to witnesses caused the accident was driven by a student.
A local resident who lives nearby on Derring Lane witnessed the accident first hand. “A shorter, yellow school bus came out of [the driveway] followed by a car, and they didn’t stop. I could see it from way [down the street]” he reported. “The car on Ithan, which had right of way, couldn’t see them turning and swerved at the last minute [which caused her to] total her car”. Harriton TV has been unable to independently confirm if the bus or grey car did not stop.
Another witness told Harriton TV that they think numerous problems lead to the crash. “Don’t get me wrong” he said, “the big problem is that the bus and cars didn’t stop like they were supposed to, but there were other problems as well.” He referenced the cars parked at the bottom of Harriton on Ithan, which obstruct visibility to people turning out of the driveway, as well as the fact that many drivers exhibit “blatant disregard” for the school zone speed limit.
The resident also cited additional problems, including that cars tend to be parked too close to the center lane and that there are no police present to control the traffic flow after school.
The accident comes just weeks after the Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners voted to delay a vote to ban parking on North Ithan, a common parking location for juniors at the high school. The commissioners considered the ban due to a large number of constituent complaints that student parking on the street often creates numerous dangerous situations for drivers.
The crash comes two years after Harriton TV’s Ricky Sayer reported on school busses consistently rolling through the stop sign at the bottom of Harriton’s west driveway. He described the possibility of an accident very similar to what actually occurred if the problem of blowing the stop sign continued.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the actions of the student and bus driver as ‘reckless’. This claim was based on eye witness accounts of the event, and was in reference to both the bus and grey car, which, according to an eyewitness, not stopping at the stop sign. While failing to stop at a stop sign is a defined moving violation which is considered reckless, Harriton TV has been unable to confirm if the actions of both the bus driver and student were in fact moving violations. Consultation of the video in this article (which was shot by an eyewitness) also proved to be inconclusive about the legality of the events that transpired. Upon release of the official police report, we will update this article with the official statement of the events.
Please continue to check back as this story develops. Harriton TV is a student-run news organization. Posts to Harriton TV’s Website do not necessarily go through an approval process by Harriton faculty.