Warning for drivers and pedestrians as Puget Sound sees traffic increase with students back to school

AUBURN - It’s a tragic accident that could happen to any driver. The King County Sheriff’s Office says a middle school student suddenly ran into the street and a teen driver could not stop in time. “It’s sad but hopefully this is a lesson for everybody,” parent Rebecca Richards said. Lesson of caution after the Toyota minivan struck an 11 year-old girl crossing the street in front of Camelot Elementary school. “She was not in the crosswalk she was 20 to 30 yards away running across the street,” Sgt. Jason Houck with King County Sheriff’s Office said. The girl was on her way to Kilo Middle School around 7:15 a.m. The crash left her with a severe head injury and first responders airlifted the middle school girl to the hospital. “This was an unfortunate accident our thoughts are with the family at this time,” Federal Way Public Schools spokesperson Kassie Swenson said. “The driver involved in the accident wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Houck said. King County Sheriff’s office says the driver a teen girl also on the way to a nearby high school was not speeding in the school zone nor was she impaired. Camelot Elementary parents wonder if the sun’s glare played a role. “I leave pretty early and the sun is coming up about that time,” parent Marcos Elias said. A tragic accident that could have happened to any driver. WSDOT says in the fall they see a noticeable jump in traffic as kids head back to school. Inrix,  the Kirkland company that monitors traffic says traffic delays increased by 12% in many parts of King County from August to September as kids head back to school. Inrix say the busiest time is between 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. The Puget Sound Regional Council also says in September because of kids going back to school they see a 10% jump in traffic volume across Puget Sound. Then when you add walkers to the busy mix, parents need to talk to their children about road safety. “Looking up paying attention listening is a really big part,” Richards said. “Drivers pay attention be aware kids are kids they won’t always use a crosswalk,” Houck said. Harborview Medical says the 11 year old girl remains in critical condition surrounded by family.