AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Friday, May 12, Kirsten Matetich was at a party with her husband when she got a harrowing phone call.
“[A friend] called me to let me know that Ross had been hit by a car,” Matetich said.
Ross, her 8-year-old son, had been walking home from a restaurant with his babysitter. They crossed the street at the intersection of Windsor Road and Winstead Lane, a MoPac Expressway exit lane in Tarrytown.
Ross and his babysitter entered the intersection when the pedestrian signal indicated they could walk. But as they were crossing, a car turning left onto Windsor Road from MoPac slowly ran into them. While the driver should have yielded, the light was green, Matetich said.
“When we arrived, there were two ambulances, police cars – just sort of like a chaotic scene,” Matetich said. “It was really, really scary.”
Ross was in a great deal of pain following the incident. But after a night in the hospital and several tests, Matetich said he is physically healthy and sustained injuries. Ross’ babysitter exacerbated a prior shoulder injury but is also recovering fine, she said.
“He’s physically going to be OK,” Matetich said. “Emotionally, that’s kind of where the recovery is beginning.”
“He shared with us that he’s scared to cross the street. He’s kind of scared to jump on a trampoline, which is unlike him. So I think we’re just going to focus on making sure he’s kind of emotionally and mentally OK over the next few months.”
While Ross is recovering from the incident, Matetich is taking action to make the intersection safer.
As Austin has grown, the intersection where Ross and his babysitter were hit has become busier, Matetich said.
“I think as a result of some of that growth, our neighborhoods are being bisected by these busy streets,” she said. “I think the city has a responsibility to make us safe, especially when you’re kind of putting busy roads through our family neighborhoods.”
Matetich started a petition to create a dedicated left turn signal to replace the “yield when green” signal at all stoplights at the Windsor and Winstead intersection. Further, she has asked for increased signage, warning drivers to pay close attention to pedestrians.
“The light to turn left onto Windsor is green, at the same time that people going across the crosswalk have a ‘walk’ signal. So drivers have to use their judgment and nobody’s perfect. We’re all human. And so what I want to see happen is putting mechanisms in place to prevent more of these types of accidents.”
So far, Matetich’s petition has gotten nearly 500 signatures and the attention of District 10 Council Member Alliston Alter, whose jurisdiction the intersection is in.
“She said she was sorry that this happened and that her office would get back to us this week with more information,” Matetich said.
The City of Austin is aware of the pedestrian crash that occurred last week at the intersection of Winsted Lane and Windsor Road and understands concerns highlighted by this incident.
The Austin Transportation and Public Works Department is in the process of reviewing the crash history for this intersection and is working to verify if this is a City-owned intersection or if it is under TxDOT’s jurisdiction, as this will impact the approach. Our subject matter experts are also discussing and assessing potential safety enhancements for this area.
Austin Transportation and Public Works spokesperson