Franklin Park Residents Call For Changes at Intersection Where Child Was Struck by Car

First grader Ximena Duran is back home and healing after she was struck by a vehicle, a collision that sent the 6-year-old girl to a hospital for several days.

Ximena has Down Syndrome and is nonverbal, according to her family, and last week she darted into traffic outside her Franklin Park home and was hit by a car.

“I was holding her hand and next thing you know she just ran off,” said her mom Mariela Velasquez. “Her skull was fractured, but the swelling went down. She has a blood clot, but it went down.”

Authorities say the driver stayed at the scene and was not speeding. No citations or tickets were issued, but her mother – and others who live in the area — are calling for changes at the intersection of Rose and Chestnut.

“We want stop signs -speed bumps – put the lights up,” Velasquez said. “It is dangerous, very dangerous.”

Maryellen Smollen says her home has even been hit by cars. She spoke out at Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

“When I hear cars screeching or tires, I get scared cause I am waiting for the crash,” said Smollen.

Village officials say there are safety protocols in place, including a pedestrian walk sign. There’s also a crossing guard in the area during the morning and afternoon hours.

“The cross traffic at Chestnut does not meet volume threshold for a four-way stop or (to be a) signalized intersection,” said Police Chief Mike Witz. “The best outcome for the village is to install the pedestrian signs and lights that exist there today.”

Mariela Velasquez says she is not giving up her fight to make the intersection safer for her kids and others.

“I want to save lives here,” she said.

Village officials say they will continue to review safety procedures at the intersection and try to come up with a solution.

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