Two young girls and their father were sent to the hospital after they were struck by a driver in Southeast D.C. on Wednesday morning.
D.C. police said it happened around 9:15 a.m. at the corner of Wheeler Road and Mississippi Avenue.
The crash, which drew anger and impassioned calls for action from D.C. Council members, came on National Walk to School Day, which emphasizes safety for students while walking to school.
Police are still looking into the circumstances of the crash, but a police source confirmed to WTOP that charges are pending against the driver.
The two children are a 6-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl.
D.C. Fire and EMS said one child sustained serious injuries. The other child and her father were said to be in good condition.
A third child was transported but was not struck by the car. That child’s condition was not serious and not life-threatening, according to authorities.
“Everyone needs to slow down and be considerate of not just our children, but our families and people going to school in the morning,” Council member Trayon White, who represents Ward 8, told WTOP.
He said the District Department of Transportation has not been responsive to the needs of Ward 8 residents.
Salim Adofo, a Neighborhood Advisory Commissioner in Ward 8, posted a Sept. 8 letter he received from DDOT after he raised concerns about the stretch of Wheeler Road. In a memo to DDOT, Adofo wrote that because of excessive speeding in the area, speed humps, speed cameras and rumble strips are necessary.
According to the letter, DDOT informed him it could take up to 130 days to complete its traffic safety study.
After Wednesday’s crash, Adofo called on DDOT to expedite its review.
“I just would like to see us be able to expedite this as quickly as possible,” Adofo told WTOP on Wednesday night. “I don’t anticipate speeding stopping in that area, especially if we don’t have anything that would leverage or persuade people to slow down.”
DDOT has been receptive to other concerns in the neighborhood, Adofo said. But he said DDOT isn’t solely responsible for fixing the issues.
“This isn’t a DDOT issue as much as it is we need to slow down when we’re driving,” Adofo said. “A large part of the responsibility is on us as people in leadership to encourage people to slow down.”
In a tweet, At-Large D.C. Council member Christina Henderson said the crash “should piss us all off.”
To hear that 2 kids and their parent were hit by a car this morning, on National Walk to School Day no less, should piss us all off.
Our goals around #VisionZero and safe passage need to be coordinated & linked!
— Christina Henderson (@chenderson) October 6, 2021
D.C. Council member Mary Cheh, who represents Ward 3, called the crash “tragic and heart breaking” and says the city needs to implement changes to make safer roads.
Today two school girls were struck by a car and injured while walking to school. This is tragic and heart breaking, today especially so because it is Walk to School Day—a day meant to highlight the importance safe travel to school and is a call for safer streets…
— Mary M. Cheh (@marycheh) October 6, 2021
Last month, a 5-year-old girl was struck and killed by a van while riding her bide in Northeast D.C.
Under the District’s Vison Zero program, implemented by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the city aims to reduce the number of traffic-related deaths and injuries to zero by the year 2024. However, since the program was rolled out in 2015, the number of traffic deaths has risen every year but one.
WTOP’s Scott Gelman and Jack Moore contributed to this report.