Lawton citizen concerned by construction zone speeders

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A concerned citizen is speaking out after she says speeding drivers nearly hit several children in a construction zone on 52nd Street.

"I started crying. I was terrified. If you could have seen that kids face. His eyes got really big and two other kids chanced it and ran across," said Lawton resident Alexis Viruet.

Viruet said the problem arose from people who were too impatient for what she called about 10 minutes of traffic. She said there was one lane of traffic going each way but some people didn't want to wait, so they pulled out into the middle lane in an effort to cut the line.

"They would just get upset and sped around, not realizing it's 20 miles per hour and these kids are trying to cross this road. There are no sidewalks, there are no crosswalks from what I was told," Viruet said.

Viruet said when she saw the children almost get hit she immediately called The City of Lawton and Eisenhower Elementary School to see if there was a solution. She said it's frustrating that to see kids walking home from school and they're put in danger because of unsafe drivers.

"I'm not a mom, I'm not a sibling, I'm just a concerned citizen. I saw this and I'm just like oh my God, this is kind of ridiculous. A child's life over 10 minutes of traffic," Viruet said. "There's definitely another route around and if you have to go through that street just chill out, play some music. You're going to be there, it's not worth it."

Sergeant Timothy Jenkins with the Lawton Police Department said they have received several reports of people driving unsafely through the 52nd street construction, as well as in the construction zone on Southeast 45th street. He said they have officers stationed out there periodically and encourages people to be more vigilant and more tolerant.

"In years past, we've seen bad situations happen with vehicles and pedestrians," Jenkins said. "People speeding or not paying attention or something like that. We want to always deter those situations as well as we can. By us doing this and telling people to slow down and watch for the kids and obeying the traffic laws and the speed, it makes it better for everybody. If we all take it upon ourselves to drive safely and obey the speed limit, watching for pedestrians it will keep all of us safe."

As for the 52 Street Project as a whole, the City of Lawton says it's only 15-percent complete and isn't expected to be finished until January of next year. City officials say safety is important so they're taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure no one is injured passing through that area.

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