Grandparents who suffered loss urge Halloween safety
For Terri and Larry Wainwright of Glenwood Springs, this Halloween is far more bitter than sweet.
A year ago, their 2-year-old grandson, Dohntae Lee Vasquez, was struck by a bus and killed while trick-or-treating as Captain America in Florida.
“We always loved Halloween, but this year it’s been really difficult,” Terri said. “I have two more grandsons who are out there trick-or-treating, and I worry about them. If I see the kids wearing something to make them more visible, I’ll feel better.”
To that end, the Wainwrights have purchased 2,500 glow necklaces to distribute to local kids. Most will be handed out in schools from Carbondale to New Castle, but you can also pick one up in Glenwood Springs at the library or City Market.
“It’s such a fun exciting day, but they say that Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for pedestrians. It just happens so fast.” Terri said. “We don’t want anybody else to be part of that statistic.”
Dohntae died when a neighbor pushed his two children and Dohntae in a stroller across State Road 27 in Lake Wales when he realized he dropped his cell phone, the Orlando Sentinel reported last year. Vasquez’s other grandmother, Angela Hoerl, was along but had not yet crossed the road.
The neighbor parked the stroller on a strip of grass on the median and told the children to wait as he went to retrieve his phone.
Authorities said Dohntae ran out of the stroller and into the road, and was hit by a bus.
Safe Kids Worldwide estimates that the rate of child pedestrian deaths doubles on Halloween.
The nonprofit organization urges drivers to slow down and stay alert, particularly in residential areas. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies across the state have announced increased DUI patrols throughout the weekend.
Safe Kids also recommends trick-or-treaters go in groups with an adult escort, use lights or reflectors to enhance visibility, stay on sidewalks and use designated crosswalks.
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According to the New Castle Police Department’s official Facebook page, a “string of arson-related fires” have occurred in the town recently. Law enforcement believes “the fires to all be related.”