On Tuesday, Frank Cruz called on people everywhere to drive more safely and to think about the danger distracted or reckless drivers pose to pedestrians.
The request came from Cruz’s heart — his 5-year-old son, Zachary, was killed in Berkeley after he was struck by a vehicle on a crosswalk at Warring and Derby streets, nine years ago yesterday.
On the anniversary of his son’s death, Frank Cruz, along with Zachary’s grandmother, Beverly Shelton, and his siblings, Miles and Frank Alexander, as well as supporters from the community, organized an awareness event at the intersection where the little boy lost his life. Holding signs up to passing motorists, they were joined by officers from the Berkeley Police Traffic Bureau who held a traffic enforcement operation funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.
The day also marked the launch, by the Zachary Michael Cruz Foundation, of a pedestrian safety awareness campaign in Zachary’s honor called Drive Like Your Kid Died Here.
“The idea behind the campaign, said Cruz, was “to reimagine and reinvigorate [pedestrian safety] and to challenge motorists to really think about their behavior.”
The Oursdid.org website includes stories of people who have been killed while walking or biking on American roads and sidewalks.
Later on Tuesday, Frank Cruz spoke at the Berkeley City Council meeting, asking council members to consider making Berkeley a Vision Zero city, one of whose goals is to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries. Seattle, New York, San Diego and Washington DC are all Vision Zero cities. In response, Mayor Jesse Arreguín said Berkeley is exploring the idea. Councilwoman Lori Droste is authoring and putting forward a resolution on the issue, in consultation with the Cruz family and members of the city’s transportation commission. — Tracey Taylor
In video, top, Frank Cruz and his family talk at the intersection where 5-year-old Zachary Cruz lost his life.
Lorin Eleni Gill, a multimedia reporter studying new media at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, is currently a visual storytelling intern at Berkeleyside.