Mom urges safer route to Dunn Elementary after girl is killed

ARLINGTON -- Grieving over the death of her 6-year-old daughter, who was hit by a truck while walking to Dunn Elementary on Wednesday, Alexandria Brazzell is urging the city to create a safer route for children walking to school from apartment complexes along Park Springs Boulevard.

"We are going to do everything we can to get the speed limit lowered on that street, to get a crosswalk there so no other family will ever have to go through what we are going through," Brazzell said.

Brazzell was walking Sarah to school from the Sleepy Hollow apartments shortly before 7 a.m. when she said Sarah crossed Park Springs to the grassy median ahead of her. Brazzell, who was pushing her 2-year-old daughter Elizabeth in a stroller, called out to Sarah to stay put.

But Sarah began crossing the street back to her mother and was hit by a pickup.

"She thought she could make it. It was just a split second," Brazzell said. "If I could, I would have jumped in front of that truck."

No charges will be filed against the driver, who stopped and rendered aid, police said.

Resident input

Brazzell said she and other apartment residents cross Park Springs midblock at Ichabod Circle because no sidewalks lead to the intersections and the path is too overgrown and bumpy to easily navigate. Across the street, she said, are apartment parking lots where children can walk farther from the busy street.

She said she plans to petition Arlington to consider lowering the speed limit along Park Springs from 40 mph to 30 mph and to complete sidewalks on Park Springs so there's a paved path to Dunn.

Some stretches of Park Springs do not have sidewalks, but Arkansas Lane and Woodside Drive do, officials said. The city relies on residents to report where they want sidewalks built, provided money is available and the property owner permits it, said Keith Melton, public works assistant director.

"We would need more details from parents on what is the expectation. There has to be agreement on the route," Melton said. "Building sidewalks in front of people's homes is one of the most difficult things to be done. It would take a coordinated effort with the neighborhood."

Tragic example

The Brazzells, who are not eligible for school bus pickup because they live less than two miles from the school, have only one car, so Alexandria Brazzell walked her daughter to Dunn most mornings. While she does not blame the pickup driver, Brazzell said, she is deeply hurt by those who fault her for not holding her daughter's hand as she crossed the street.

"There are a lot of people saying all these horrible things. I taught her safety. I was right there with her," Brazzell said, sobbing. "I will do whatever I can to honor her memory, so nobody forgets that it can all be taken away in a second, even if you are the most careful parent in the world."

Sarah was an outgoing, creative girl who loved to draw, ride her pink Razor scooter, and put on shows for her parents and little sister, her mother said.

"She loved to sing and dance. She wanted to be a pop star like Hannah Montana," Brazzell said. "She was so joyful."

Sarah attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had recently joined the Girl Scout Daisies. Sarah was going to be Bat Girl for Halloween.

At Ichabod Circle and Park Springs was a makeshift memorial with pink and red heart balloons, flowers and stuffed animals.

Sarah's classmates have also been drawing pictures for the family, Arlington district spokeswoman Amy Casas said Thursday.

"We appreciate all the support that we've gotten from everybody who is out there praying for us," Brazzell said. "Sarah was meant to be here for a purpose. Part of it was to be an example for the safety of everybody, adults and children alike."

Sarah is also survived by her father, Patrick Brazzell, and grandparents.

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639

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