FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)– The Fort Collins community is rallying around the family of Vale Wolkow, hoping for change in his death. The 6-year-old was struck and killed by a car while walking to school Tuesday morning.
“We’re from halfway across the country and to know that your children are cared for, to know that your grandchildren are loved?”
Justin Ingalls could barely speak talking about the community support his family has received.
He flew into town with his wife, immediately following news of their grandson’s death.
“A tragedy like this, it’s incredible to see your kids hurt and to see your grandchildren hurt but this community has been amazing.”
They take comfort knowing their children and remaining grandchildren, have so much love.
Vale Wolkow, a kindergartener at Lopez Elementary, was walking to school Tuesday morning when he was struck by an SUV in the crosswalk.
Fort Collins police say a 23-year-old man in a 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe was driving southeast on Wabash Street and came to a stop at the four-way stop along Benthaven Street.
Police say when he continued forward, he struck the 6-year-old in the crosswalk at the opposite side of the intersection.
Vale passed away at the hospital several hours later.
Counselors have been at the school for all students and staff since the incident.
Fifth grader Vicente McClintock was among several called on by counselors to make sure he was okay.
“Just today I was called down. They’re calling down all the students who have witnessed or have seen the aftermath or are just generally concerned,” he said.
Vicente witnessed the aftermath of the crash. As a result, he no longer walks to school.
“Like it’s even a danger to us fifth graders and we’re the oldest students in the school so that should say something. And not all kids are aware of the fact that there are a lot of cars that don’t stop.”
Vicente would like to see more crossing guards outside of the school.
His mother agrees and feels that even just two days after the incident, people are reverting back to bad driving habits.
“It feels like things are sort of going back to the regular pace and everyone’s in a hurry and needing to get somewhere. He would like to see more crossing guards,” said Adrianana McClintock.
The Poudre Valley School District says crossing guards are paid positions which require training. There are currently 12 paid crossing guards in the district. A number the district said it is always reassessing.
For Vale’s grandparents, more crossing guards, is exactly the type of change they hope Vale’s death brings.
“There will be great things that come of this,” said Justin. “If this is a means of having those discussions and how do we keep our kids safe to make sure that nobody has to experience this again?”
Police do not believe speed or distracted driving was a factor and say the driver was not under the influence at the time. The incident is still under investigation.