Police presence outside Canton school after two sisters struck by car

CANTON, Ohio -- A Canton police officer on Tuesday was helping students from Lehman Middle School cross a busy intersection near where two girls were hit and injured following the first day of school for 6th graders on Monday.

Despite an obvious police presence outside the school before dismissal on Tuesday, some students continued to cross a busy 13th Street N.W. near where the two sisters were hit crossing the same street on Monday.

Police say Marissa Smith, 11, and her sister Abbrianna Smith, 17, were hit by an eastbound car.

"I'm led to believe the 17-year-old was picking the 11-year-old up from school. They were going southbound across the 25-hundred block of 13th Street N.W. when they were struck by a Kia that was traveling eastbound on 13th street," said Canton Police Lieutenant Dennis Garren.

The driver, a 57-year-old Canton man, remained at the scene where he was described as being very cooperative. He was not charged or cited.

"From my observations when I was there he was visibly upset and worried and concerned, no question about it. I believe from what I learned he was just driving down the road and never had a chance to see them coming or react in time," said Steve Humphrey, the school district's director of safety and security.

The girls were taken to a local hospital where their injuries were described as serious, but not life-threatening.

On Tuesday, the district and police were cautioning drivers that schools are now or will soon be in session and they need to be more aware of children on streets and sidewalks not only around schools but in neighborhoods as well, walking to and from their schools and bus stops.

"It's imperative that people are paying attention for kids, you know? There are crosswalks. There are places they are supposed to cross, but we know they are kids; they don't always do that," said Garren.

Students and parents were also being reminded that they should only cross streets at intersections with lights and at crosswalks.

"We are out and we try to be as visible as possible but, again, I think the message is the kids need to cross at the crosswalks any time they are crossing the streets, and for the parents to remind the kids when they are traveling to and from the school that they use the crosswalks as well," said Humphrey.

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