Car hits student crossing street Teen's injuries not serious

snow forces walkers to roadways

January 17, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Stan Rappaport and Howard Libit contributed to this article.

A 14-year-old Oakland Mills High School student was hit by a car on his way home from school in Columbia yesterday, as he and other pupils walked to Howard County schools on slick streets to avoid unshoveled sidewalks.

Ryan Murphy, a freshman, suffered facial abrasions in the 2:20 p.m. accident, but was able to walk back to the roadside in the 5600 block of Thunderhill Road, according to witnesses and Fire Department Lt. Chris Shimer.

He went by ambulance priority 3 -- the least serious condition -- to Howard County General Hospital. His condition was not immediately known last night, though his best friend, who witnessed the accident, said his injuries were not serious.

"He'll be all right," said ninth-grader Ryan Conville, who watched Ryan run from behind a parked car in an attempt to cross the street during their mile-long trek home. "People should have at least made an attempt to shovel sidewalks so kids could walk home."

More details of the accident were not immediately available. Fire Department personnel questioned the driver, and police are investigating the accident, the only one involving a student reported in the Baltimore area yesterday.

It came as students in Howard and elsewhere in the region returned to school after missing classes last week because of the blizzard plus school Monday because of the Martin Luther King holiday.

Howard schools plan to open on time today. Yesterday, with a lot of ice and snow lingering, the schools opened two hours late -- and students still had some troubles coping.

"You can't see," said Kristen Midura, a senior at Mount Hebron High School, who drove to school with two other students. "There's still just so much snow."

A few minutes later, Susan Witt steered her van in front of the school and her daughter, Michele, a senior, and a friend jumped out like paratroopers.

Ms. Witt said she lives less than a mile and a half from the school, but she thought it too unsafe to allow the children to walk. "The paths some of these children use wouldn't be up to walking," Ms. Witt said.

Many sidewalks were still covered with ice. Few road shoulders -- on which many students walked -- were free of snow.

As classes were about to begin at Saint Johns Lane Elementary about 11 a.m. yesterday, children loaded with heavy coats, lunch boxes, musical instruments and book bags struggled to balance themselves on the mud and ice.

School safety guard Charles Lohr, a fifth-grader, said he'd seen many hit the pavement. "I tell them to slow down and not to walk close to the sides," Charles said.

Apart from the Oakland Mills accident and a burst water pipe at Elkridge Landing Middle School, Howard schools reported no other problems.

"Most people seemed glad to have the two-hour delay and asked us to do it again [today]," school spokeswoman Patti Caplan said. "But we plan to open on time, unless we have precipitation overnight that creates slippery roads."

Elsewhere in the region, heavy traffic, slushy streets and ice and snow-covered sidewalks and bus stops posed similar problems.

Baltimore County had four minor accidents involving school buses, but officials said that was "not unusual." No one was DTC injured.

Baltimore schools will open on time today. Baltimore County schools will open an hour late. Anne Arundel schools will open two hours late this week. Harford and Carroll officials will decide this morning on their hours.

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