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Parents on Alert after Toddler Struck by Vehicle at SPI

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Parents are speaking out after a 3-year-old was hit by a pickup truck on South Padre Island.

The toddler was airlifted to Valley Baptist Medical Center where he continues to recover.

Visitor Eric Kindervater said he went to the beach with his family this week. He’d never been to South Padre before.

Kindervater said he found it odd that so many people were driving on the beach.

“We’re holding on and keeping our eyes on her at all times. It’s scary when you see a vehicle pass by. It’s only going to take a second for them to dart out and it doesn’t matter how fast the vehicle is going to go, your child is still going to get hurt severely,” he said.

The father said he was taken aback when he realized the beach served as a roadway.

“We live in Port Aransas, by Rockport and it’s totally – this is the first time I’ve been here and I didn’t know you’re three feet away from a car,” he said.

Cameron County Park Rangers Chief of Police Horacio Zamora said it’s legal to drive on the beach.

“It’s a state road. It’s considered from the edge of the water to the beginning of vegetation close to the sand dunes,” he said.

Zamora said the problem is not having an ordinance that prevents people from parking on the beach. He said it would help eliminate some traffic flow.

Kindervater said accidents can happen in a matter of seconds.  

“This is like a family week and stuff and you’ve got a lot of kids out here, and so for parents it makes you feel a lot uneasy about this,” he said.

The father said he’d rather be more vigilant and strict on his toddler to prevent an accident.

Zamora said there aren’t any plans to change regulations or ordinances permitting people to drive on the beach. He said parents have to take all necessary measures to keep their children safe.

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