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Wentzville mayor, county councilmember seek safety measures for ice cream trucks

A St. Charles County councilmember and the mayor of Wentzville are looking at ways to improve child safety around neighborhood ice cream trucks in light of the death last month of a 2-year-old girl who was hit by a truck in Wentzville.

Mayor Nick Guccione submitted legislation to Wentzville’s Board of Aldermen to require safety features be installed on vending trucks.

The fatal accident happened in the 4900 block of Summer Rain Drive just before 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. Felicity Karam and her family walked across the street to buy some ice cream from the truck. As the family walked back across the street, Felicity was hit by the truck. Authorities said paramedics took Felicity to the hospital where she later died.

The ice cream truck was not going fast and stopped after driving a car’s length, police said.

Guccione discussed safety features and had a group of students from Holt High School in Wentzville, who were studying the accident, suggest some ideas at the board’s Oct. 10 meeting. The suggestions included installing motion sensors on vehicles; however, the city took no action. Guccione said the board is expected to discuss and give a first reading to the legislation before making a decision later this month.

Meanwhile, St. Charles County Councilman Joe Cronin, [District 1] told the council at its Oct. 9 meeting that he had submitted similar information to county officials for review.  Cronin, who represents the Wentzville area, said he met with Guccione and several aldermen to discuss the legislation. Guccione asked if the county might consider legislation because then it would take effect countywide.

Required safety equipment could include 360-degree safety mirrors, a backup camera and sensors. Cronin said school bus safety arms that extend out in front of the bus is another idea. The arms require children to walk out in front of a bus where they can be seen by a driver, eliminating a blind spot. Known as Betsy Bars, the safety arms were named for Elizabeth “Betsy” Anderson, a 6-year-old killed in a bus accident in Washington state in 1990.

Guccione said the safety measures may cost between $400 and $800 to install on ice cream trucks. That cost can be passed on to people buying ice cream, he said. “I think we have to do something,” he added.

There are two or three vendors that operate trucks in city subdivisions and unincorporated areas outside the city, Guccione said. He said he hopes companies comply and that compliance could take place as part of licensing. Other cities require safety devices installed on ice cream trucks, he said.

Any new requirements may not apply to food trucks, which generally are parked in one place, he said.

Guccione also told aldermen earlier this month that he would like to see any legislation, resolution or new business license requirements go even further and discussed whether the topic should be discussed with state representatives.


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