Ashland High student hit by car

An Ashland High School student was hit by a car in a Siskiyou Boulevard crosswalk around noon Tuesday.

Eldon Tobrock, 18, was not seriously injured in the crash and was released from Ashland Community Hospital Tuesday afternoon, police said.

"I'm doing good though, no broken bones, no internal bleeding, already back home," read a message on Tobrock's MySpace page, posted at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police charged the driver, Anthony Martin, 21, with careless driving, failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and passing a stopped vehicle at a crosswalk, charges that carry fines and potentially other penalties, said Officer John Peronne with the Ashland Police Department.

Martin, a Southern Oregon University student and Jacksonville resident, said he didn't see Tobrock until "about a second and a half" before the crash, which occurred on the northbound side of Siskiyou Boulevard, in the lane closest to the high school.

"I tried (to stop)," he said. "I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could. I even pulled the emergency brake."

Martin said he had been distracted because he was worried about his mother, who is in the hospital.

"But there's no excuse for what I did," he said.

As he lay on the ground after being struck, Tobrock told school officials, including Ashland High School Principal Jeff Schlecht and Superintendent Juli Di Chiro, he had assumed the car would stop because the car next to it, in the left-hand lane, had stopped.

"The guy just kept going 25 (mph)," Tobrock said. "There wasn't anything I could do. I was walking one second and the other second I was on the ground."

Ashland High School senior Adam Pavlich, 17, had crossed the street seconds before Tobrock and turned around when he heard tires screech, he said.

"I just saw him get hit — go up into the windshield and fly off," he said.

Adam ran over to Tobrock, who was yelling in pain. After he made sure Tobrock was stable, Adam called 9-1-1 on his cell phone, he said.

Next, Adam called Tobrock's mother, to let her know what had happened to her son, he said.

Adam, who became CPR certified last year in a health class at the high school, said he didn't consider himself a hero for responding to the crash.

"The fire truck and ambulance were there within about three minutes," he said, pointing to the paramedics lifting Tobrock on a stretcher. "They're the ones who are the real heroes."

Both students were returning to campus because the school's lunch period was about to end minutes later, at 12:05 p.m.

A crossing guard is scheduled to flag students through the crosswalk during the five minutes before the lunch period ends. The crossing guard was not at the crosswalk when Tobrock was struck, because it was not quite noon, Superintendent Juli Di Chiro said.

Di Chiro said district officials had no immediate plans to make the crosswalk safer as a result of the incident. In addition to employing a crossing guard during passing periods and the beginning and end of lunch periods, the district has installed flashing yellow lights at the crosswalk.

"I'm very sorry this happened and I just want to remind our public, particularly as daylight is getting shorter, to be very cautious as they're driving down Siskiyou — not only for our students but for SOU students as well," Di Chiro said.

The crash occurred almost two years after Southern Oregon University student Gladys Jimenez, 22, died after being hit by a car while crossing Siskiyou Boulevard.

Sgt. Hector Meletich with the Ashland Police Department said the incident should serve to remind drivers and pedestrians to pay attention on Ashland's streets.

"You can put in all the safety precautions you want, but no matter where you're crossing the street or where you're driving, you have to exercise due care," he said.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.

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