LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Niagara County Sheriff's Office is investigating after an SUV struck three teenage girls Tuesday evening November 10th.
According to investigators, five girls were walking north along the east side of Rapids Road, near Tonawanda Creek and Wisterman Roads, as three of the girls were struck by a vehicle. The girls range in age from 9 to 14 years old.
Mercy Flight transported one 10-year-old child to Oishei Children's Hospital where she remains in critical condition inside the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit. Two others were taken to the hospital by ambulance.
The names of the children have not been released but a girl age 11 is also in the intensive care unit in critical condition. A 14-year-old girl was treated and released.
Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti said the 40-year-old male driver of the northbound SUV is cooperating with police but is "distraught" as he told deputies that he did not see the girls walking along the road.
The accident happened just after 5:30 pm when dusk was ending across the area.
"It is a hard time to see. You have the sun going down and the sun can affect your ability to see the roadway," explained Captain Jill Harrison from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.
The accident occurred at a location on Rapids Road where the speed changes from 35 to 55 mph.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic crashes kill one pedestrian approximately every 88 minutes. More than 6,200 hundred pedestrians were killed in 2018 by traffic crashes.
Since teenagers are more likely to walk and be exposed to traffic, the NHTSA has posted extensive materials on its website about walking defensively.
NOW: A car is being towed from the scene. Road is still closed here. @wkbw https://t.co/vCPAZe4at0 pic.twitter.com/WHTZpuuq3s— Nikki DeMentri (@nikkidementri) November 11, 2020
Sheriff Filicetti said alcohol has been ruled out as a factor and the investigation is ongoing.
7 Eyewitness News has learned that two of the injured children attended Starpoint Schools.
Several people from the Rapids community gathered at the spot of the accident Wednesday night November 11 for a candlelight vigil in hopes the young teenagers will recover.