Worthing family’s horror as beloved puppy run over before their eyes outside school

A parent who watched her beloved pet dog get run over right outside her son’s school is calling for a safe road crossing to be installed.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 10:06 am
Max, aged seven, with his beloved puppy Rocco

Alice King was walking to Thomas A Becket junior school with her son Max, aged seven, on Friday, January 31 – accompanied, as usual, by their ruby king charles cavalier puppy, Rocco – when the ‘traumatic’ incident took place.

They had just crossed Wiston Avenue, with Rocco right behind them on his lead, when Miss King turned back to see a car run over her puppy.

“The driver drove off, they didn’t even stop,” the 33-year-old estate agent said.

Councillors and parents outside the Thomas A Becket junior school in Worthing

“It was total slow motion to be honest.

“I could just see he was gone, his eyes were open, there was blood everywhere.

“I didn’t want my son to look, I yelled ‘don’t look, don’t look’ and he started screaming,”

Miss King, of Lanfranc Road, said losing Rocco after welcoming him to their family just 13 months ago had been ‘unbearable’ and that Max missed him everyday.

“We were honestly besotted with him,” she said. “He changed our lives, we are devastated.”

She is now campaigning for changes to the road outside the school.

“If there had been a safe crossing there, it wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

“It’s a main road and at that time in the morning, everyone is in a rush.”

Her post on Facebook about the situation was shared hundreds of times and a petition has now been set up by two Tarring councillors, Bob Smytherman and Martin McCabe, calling for a safe crossing point.

Miss King said: “For me, it’s putting the energy from the grief into something to make sure it will never happen again.

“It makes it a bit less pointless.”

The councillors and parents at the school gathered outside the building on Friday morning to collect signatures for the petition.

Mr McCabe said: “Local people overwhelmingly back this petition. This road is a ticking time bomb.

“It’s an accident waiting to happen and we need to get it sorted.

“It was poor Rocco the dog this time. Next time it could be a child.

“Thank you to everyone backing this campaign and please sign our petition if you haven’t already.

“Together we can force the County Council to make this road safe.”

John Gadd, headteacher at Thomas A Becket Junior school, said: “I was shocked to hear of the tragic and traumatic incident last Friday, when one of my pupils’ dogs was killed in a traffic incident near the school and we are doing everything we can to support the family as they come to terms with their loss.”

He said the school had ‘ongoing concerns with regard to safety in the roads around the school’ and was working ‘tirelessly’ to improve safety.

The petition comes after another parent at the school raised concerns about ‘dangerous and negligent parking’ around the school.

A spokesman from West Sussex County Council said it was aware of Rocco’s death and said it understood that police were investigating.

The spokesman said: “West Sussex County Council has engaged with this school with regards to highway safety and have implemented most of the measures they requested.

“We are hopeful the remaining will happen in the next financial year, however this is dependent on funding being available.”