OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -- Overland Park police are still trying to determine why a driver hit a 14-year-old girl on Friday. She died two days later. But that busy stretch of Switzer is a frequent scene of crashes and children are often at risk.
Alex Rumple was hit just south of 123rd and Switzer, two other boys were walking right behind her and narrowly missed being hit as well. It happened just down the sidewalk from two schools packed with children.
KCTV5 did some digging on the number of crashes in the areas and the results might surprise you.
“This is the area where I work so I'm around here all the time,” Karen Harrison, a dog walker, said.
Harrison is frequently working along the stretch of Switzer and said she always feels safe but does notice some speed issues from time to time.
“Because of the schools and stuff, I don't know that people always honor the reduced speeds,” Harrison said.
And many times, speed causes crashes.
Overland Park police said this is by no means it’s most dangerous area but after last week’s crash that killed 14-year-old Rumple, Switzer will be a topic.
KCTV5 asked for stats going back a few years and here’s what was found:
Since 2016, there have been a total of 243 crashes off Switzer between 119th Street and 143rd.
Two were fatal and one area is especially rough.
“Right there at 133rd and Switzer there's that turnover that curve that we've had accidents at that location. Matter-of-fact, last year we had a fatality at that location,” Officer John Lacy, with the Overland Park Police Department said.
Just last month, a Blue Valley Northwest student was critically hurt after he hit a tree in the same area.
Zachary Whetzell walks his dog along Switzer just about every day and said he feels safe but does notice the traffic.
“It's definitely a busy road because of the schools and people coming through here,” Whetzell said.
If you drive along that corridor, police are asking you to keep this in mind and teach your young drivers the same. There are a number of elementary, middle and high schools in that area, along with Deanna Rose and the Scheels Soccer Complex.
It is an area that is packed with kids and families on any given day and one that certainly warrants extra caution.
“There's always different factors. One factor was someone's not paying attention to the road way, the other factor is someone's driving too fast you have to slow down,” Lacy said.
It’s something that will likely stay fresh on people’s minds for a while after the terrible loss of Rumple, but it’s something none of us should forget.
There were an awful lot of people who loved Rumple. Blue Valley said so far, more than 150 students have taken advantage of the counseling the district has offered.