Two female pedestrians who were struck by a car in their neighborhood along Pauba Road after a trip to the Temecula Public Library are still recovering from their injuries.
Meanwhile, their parents want to know when sidewalks will be installed along the city street in order to prevent future accidents.
“We want the city to call us and tell us where the missing sidewalk is,” said Mike Baxter, father of the 19-year-old woman who was struck the evening of March 11 along the busy road.
Baxter’s daughter and her 22-year-old friend were walking westbound in the bicycle lane of the westbound side of the road when they were hit by a Toyota Matrix piloted by a female driver with two young children in the car.
According to police, the glaring sun temporarily affected the driver’s visibility; the two women were struck shortly after 5:30 p.m.
“The driver was traveling directly into the setting sunlight …,” Sgt. Jon Wade of the Temecula Police Department reported. “As the driver transitioned from having direct sunlight in their eyes into the shaded area, the driver drifted into the bicycle lane and struck two female pedestrians who were walking westbound within the bicycle lane.”
Baxter’s daughter sustained serious injuries from the incident and is still hospitalized. She suffered broken bones and a concussion; once she is released from the hospital, she faces months of rehabilitation, he said.
The 22-year-old woman who was struck suffered moderate injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. There were no reports of injuries to the driver or the children in the vehicle.
Baxter, his wife Melanie, and the mother of the 22-year-old woman who was struck, walked the trek along Pauba Road Thursday evening. They pointed out the lack of sidewalk, the weedy parkways on either side of the road, protruding trees and bushes that force pedestrians into the bicycle lane, and the high speed of traffic in the area.
“We have all these nice things in Temecula and we can’t do a sidewalk so people can walk here safely?” Mike questioned.
The two women were struck approximately a half-mile west of the library located at 30600 Pauba Road.
The library is surrounded by tract homes, which the Baxters say are filled with families with young children. The couple has lived in the neighborhood as a family for about 10 years, Mike said.
“It’s the same problem for the kids here who walk to Vail Elementary School,” he said. “They don’t have sidewalks here either.”
The City of Temecula was contacted for this story. Interim City Manager Aaron Adams said all accidents on public property are reviewed but he provided no comment on the March 11 incident.
The Baxters said they have reached out to City, but as of Saturday morning had received no response.
According to Temecula’s Chief of Police Andre O’Harra, there has not been a high number of incidents on the Pauba Road stretch where the women were hit, about a half-mile west of the library.
“It’s a very dangerous road. Does it take somebody getting killed first?”
Watch the attached video to hear and see more of the interview with Mike Baxter.