By Bill Hudson

ELK RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) — It was dark and wet Sunday night as 12-year-old Ian Kniseley darted across a busy Elk River intersection.

A northbound driver, passing through a green light at Highway 169 and Main Street, couldn’t avoid the tragic collision.

The boy was tossed clear across the intersection, suffering critical injuries.

Lt. Tiffani Nielson of the State Patrol says the collision is under investigation, although the 36-year-old driver from Osseo stopped and was not impaired.

Kniseley is a seventh-grader at Elk River’s Vandenburg Middle School.

State Rep. Nick Zerwas lives near the intersection and recalls a fatal pedestrian accident when he was in school.

“It’s tragic no matter what the scenario is,” he said. “We don’t need any more of that in this town.”

Highway 169 is a major artery to the north. Zerwas says development and traffic has gotten to the point where the intersections are dangerously outdated and need replacement.

So he’s sponsoring legislation to begin the process.

“It’s time to get rid of those at-grade crossings, it needs to be made into a freeway,” he said. “That would allow for ease of pedestrian travel as well.”

That previous child fatality resulted in the construction of a pedestrian bridge about half a mile north — at School Street.

But along Main Street, which serves huge housing developments to the east, crossing the at the four-lane intersection is the only option.


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