School leaders, parents raise concerns after cars keep crashing into fence

[anvplayer video=”5191864″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A metro elementary school is forced to clean up glass off their playground again after a car crashed through their fence for the fourth time this year. 

San Felipe Elementary School, on Central near Old Town, has already asked the city for help. Now, they’re asking again as they wait for another gaping hole in their fence to get repaired. 

Luckily, no one has been on the playground when these crashes happen, but parents and teachers say they’re worried it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt. 

“That metal bar there,” San Felipe Principal Cheral Robertson points to a large metal pole sticking out of the sidewalk now bent at a 90-degree angle. “That was what was holding the gate up, and now it’s on its side.” 

What used to be a gate along the San Felipe school’s chain link fence is now a pile of caution tape, traffic cones, and wires.  It’s a temporary fix staff and parents say is starting to feel more permanent. 

“The first car that came through in January actually popped the curb went under the chain link fence and ended up over here next to the swing set,” Robertson explained. 

KOB 4 was there in January when that car got towed away from the crash. But months later:

“There is no rubber barrier right here, so a car ended up right here. And you can still see the tire marks in the dirt. That was from the car from the 23rd of June,” Robertson said. 

Then it happened a third time. 

“We had a pickup between that tree and the fence on the second of July,” Robertson said. 

Now, a fourth vehicle has crashed through the fence this year, and they’re all landing where the students play. Parents say it’s a daily worry. 

“My son is scared I tell him to just stay away from the gate, but it’s inevitable when you have kids so anxious to play outside play with their friends. The balls go towards there, they are walking on the walking path inches away from the fence line anything could happen at any time,” concerned mother Vivian Santistevan said.

Santistevan and school officials say they’ve asked the City of Albuquerque for help, but haven’t gotten much. 

“The traffic department they were out here and measured and told us we have barriers that can stop cars and I said obviously not,” Robertson said. 

KOB 4 reached out to the Municipal Development Department. A rep said in a statement: 

“Our engineers are exploring a variety of measures to improve safety in the area and slow drivers down.  This morning, City crews re-painted the curb bright yellow so that it is more easily visible, especially at night when all of these incidents have taken place. We have also ordered object marker signs, or bright yellow reflectors, that will go into the ground near that intersection to increase visibility and warn drivers of the road edge. Those signs will be installed by the end of the week.” 

But parents say they don’t think that is enough. 

“It didn’t sit well it felt like the city has failed us and has failed our children,” Santistevan said. 

Santistevan said she wants to see concrete barriers that would stop vehicles. But, city reps say that’s not in the plans right now.