South Side residents frustrated with speeding drivers after teen was hit by car while walking to bus stop

Residents say they have complained to city multiple times

San Antonio – Residents living along Sligo Street on the South Side seem to be on the same page when it comes down to wanting speed bumps.

This need became even more critical after a teen was struck by a car while trying to catch the bus for school.

Julian Gallardo, 15, said he usually walks down the sidewalk to cross the street to make it to the bus stop at Esma Street.

After he was hit by a car, he ended up several feet back into his neighbors driveway.

“I guess I was scared and I was a traumatized by that,” Gallardo said. “The fact that I was hit by a car. It was painful and it was hard to breathe.”

Sylvia Cortez, his mother, said she believes it was his backpack that saved his life.

“I heard a thump and thought it was just the garbage truck or something but then I heard this moaning and didn’t think too much of it until I looked and I saw this woman cradling my son,” Cortez said. “I ran over and she was just saying how sorry she was. His backpack is all road rash and holey.”

Today Gallardo was discharged from the hospital after a 4 ½ day stay.

“He has a fractured clavicle, a fractured pelvic bone, a fracture in between his pinky finger and he has a lot of road rash on his body,” Cortez said.

Even before the accident, neighbors said speeding has always been an issue, especially after the roadway was repaved.

“I brought it up a year and a half ago to Rebecca Viagran and they told me they were going to do a traffic study but nothing came of that,” said Conrad Palacios, a bishop and resident who lives on Sligo.

“At any given time for the most part, you could be just in your front yard and people will drive at a high velocity,” Palacios said. “Sometimes they just gun it and you can even hear it in the middle of the night. Just fast! It is scary.”

Now that he has a 3-year-old daughter, he built a fence around his yard to better protect her.

Like his neighbors, he wants speed bumps sooner rather than later.

“When your life gets altered and you have to second think walking out of your front door because traffic is that fast, something is the matter,” he said.

“There have been actual deaths on this street,” said Mike Saldana, a resident who also lives on Sligo. “I would like to see some speed bumps and possible some speed signs because there are none on the street. Just to make it safe for the kids. There are a lot of kids that walk around and for us residents we want to be able to enjoy the new sidewalks and streets.”

“People down here don’t understand this is a residential area,” Cortez said “Kids run and play and ride their bikes and drivers don’t do the speed limit.”

They said people are also not obeying the stop sign in the area.

“They just kind of like look both ways and take off and that is when I scream, ‘Hey, there is a stop sign there!’ And they just turn around and flip me off.”

They all say they have taken measures to inform the District 3 Office about their concerns to no avail.

“We have been trying to get the council people to put in speed bumps,” Cortez said. “We have sent out letters. I could have lost my son and seeing all that is traumatizing.”

Phyllis Viagran, district 3 councilwoman, said she has been informed about the issue but in order for any action to be taken, residents have to go through a four-step process.

“They have to put in an application, then the city will review that application, and then they have to petition for signatures, and then the city will do a study if warranted,” Viagran said. “We have to have people make a request because some neighbors may not want speed bumps and that is why we need a consensus.”

She said she will work with Public Works Committee to see what they can do while they wait for that process to begin.

“We have to look at that Vision Zero in making sure we are being mindful of where we are on the streets,” she said. " Slow down, understand you are in a residential area and let’s work to avoid accidents like this.”

“We care about our community and children and each other,” Palacios said. “Please drive at a normal speed and respect one another.”

“You can replace a car, you can’t replace a life,” Cortez said.

Palacios did say he will proceed with filling out an application to get the ball rolling.


About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.