Reporting Elizabeth Hur
By Liz Hur
BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — 3 On Your Side is helping a grieving mother get results.
The Bucks County mother lost her son to a hit and run driver. She is now on a mission to make her community safer and needs the public to join her in accomplishing the difficult task.
Sharon Rearick said, “It was horrible, absolutely horrible. That was the longest six days of my life.”
Rearick says her 23-year-old son, John, fought for his life.
“He was just there left there, thank God there were people that came up shortly thereafter and thank God for Penn Jersey’s cameras or we still wouldn’t know anything,” Rearick said.
Surveillance cameras from the auto shop were rolling on July 22nd when the young man fell victim to a hit and run driver while walking along the 4900 block of New Falls Road.
John later died and the video eventually led to the driver, Jonathan Simmons, surrendering.
Mark Zlock, Rearick’s family attorney said, “It doesn’t take long to find out that, to discover that there is a significant need for this.”
Zlock is referring to the need for sidewalks, so Rearick turned to 3 On Your Side.
Rearick also wrote to Bristol Township asking for walkways. The township then reached out to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation requesting a “Traffic Study of New Falls Road.”
Eyewitness News obtained a copy of the letter PennDOT sent as a response. The letter read, in part:
“New Falls Road extends for several miles through 4 municipalities. Over the total length of New Falls Road, there were 18 crashes involving pedestrians over the last 5+ years (2007 to present), including 4 fatalities. 17 of these 18 crashes, including all 4 fatalities, occurred within the limits of Bristol Township.. The overall pedestrian crash data.. would suggest that sidewalks could be beneficial along the corridor.”
In a separate letter addressed to Rearick, PennDOT wrote, “Municipalities are typically responsible for installing and maintaining sidewalks. This can be accomplished usually one of three ways – through a project funded directly by the municipality through our Highway Occupancy Permit process, by the municipality requiring a developer to install sidewalks at the time of the development, or as part of a federally funded project.”
When Eyewitness News contacted Bristol Township manager, William McCauley, he vowed to do what he can and said he is hopeful he can make this happen. McCauley said the public can help this process move forward by writing to their local lawmakers to make them aware of this issue.
Eyewitness News also reached out to state officials. State Sen. Tommy Tomlinson’s district director, Albert Sutter Jr said in a statement:
“Our office along with Rep. [Tina] Davis’ office and PennDOT are working with Sharon Rearick to make New Falls Rd. in Levittown a safer roadway.”
Rearick is doing her part. She started an online petition, asking for the public’s support.
“Please sign my petition, please make a difference, please help me make a difference for the community,” Rearick pleaded.
If you would like to voice your support, you can do so here.