OLATHE, Kan. — A driver injured three deaf people who were attempting to cross the street after leaving the Olathe Deaf Cultural Center Tuesday night. The people who were hit are volunteers at the center.
The driver who had the green light didn’t see them as they crossed the middle of the street. Two women, a 90-year-old and 76-year-old had ridden to the meeting together. As they were getting ready to cross the street, a 68-year-old male friend insisted he escort them to their car.
“They went in between parked cars and usually this street is very, very quiet and sometimes I think people get lulled into, you know, not even paying attention,” said the Deaf Cultural Center Director Sandra Kelly.
Because they weren’t using the crosswalk, the lights were dim where they were walking. Police say the driver didn’t see them.
“I spoke with police earlier today and they indicated that this gentleman is very aware that this school is here and there are a lot of deaf people so he always has his cruise control set at 25 because he knows he needs to drive slowly and apparently he had done that,” Kelly said.
Sandra Kelly helped translate on the scene. She says the three victims didn’t see the driver.
“You know sometimes we don’t do what we are supposed to do and hindsight tells us we should do things differently,” she said.
Kelly says being deaf played no part in this accident.
“Deaf individuals actually have better driving records than hearing people because they are so much more visually in tune with what’s going on,” she said. “They see things that the rest of us just miss.”
All three suffered head trauma. One woman also has a broken ankle. The trio remains in the hospital. Police say charges are not likely.