Troubleshooters: East Peoria Officer warns about safety threats near high school


East Peoria, Ill. (HOI) – You sent in your problems to Troubleshooters, and we listened.

Parents voiced concerns about the street in front of East Peoria Community High School, because the four lane highway isn’t a school zone.

Jenise Rebholz rode along with an officer who knows the area best, to see what safety threats this could be posing for students.

If school is in session, you’ll likely find East Peoria Officer Scott Craig nearby, making sure students are getting into class safely.

“This is partly why I’m here actually in the mornings and in the evenings, because of complaints we’ve gotten,” said Officer Craig.

The portion of East Washington street in front of EPCHS is not a declared school zone, and some parents think it should be.

“It has to be a no passing zone. With a four lane highway, IDOT hasn’t declared this a school zone therefore, that’s why traffic isn’t required to go 20 miles per hour like a school zone is,” said Officer Craig.

But even if it was a school zone, Officer Craig says that wouldn’t fix what he believes are the biggest safety threats in that area. He says there’s rarely speeders in the morning, because the traffic is just too congested.

He says the three biggest safety threats are violators of school bus passing laws, texting while driving, and students not using the crosswalks.

Officer Craig says he’s received more communication from the school bus company and parents after the October bus accident in Rochester, Indiana. Three young students were killed boarding a bus when a 24-year-old woman struck them in her pick-up truck.

“We started getting a few more complaints from the bus company in particular about violations of the stop arm. They will email me their complaints and I then follow up on those and if I find necessary, issue the citations post violation because of the video,” said Officer Craig.

The other potential deadly violation is distracted driving. Officer Craig says he sees people of all ages texting behind the wheel every day, and he could hand out dozens of tickets.

“Janurary first, all violations will be moving violations which go towards suspensions. So, three or more in a year and you can lose your license,” said Officer Craig.

Despite crosswalks and traffic signals, he says jaywalking is also a daily concern.

“We’ve had more than one incident out here that someone’s been hit by a car because they’re not using the crosswalk. People aren’t expecting kids to just dart through traffic, and they are,” said Officer Craig.

If you see someone violating bus stop laws or other offenses, East Peoria police say you can call them to report your concerns.

Jenise Rebholz

Jenise Rebholz

Evening Anchor, Heart of Illinois ABC @JeniseRebholzTV

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