Car hits man riding bike in Wildwood, throwing him into ditch


WILDWOOD, Mo. — Dozens of people in Wildwood are calling for change after a car hit a man riding his bike across a crosswalk.

Brock Vanek was almost at the end of the crosswalk along Old State Road when a car struck him around 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 8. His family said the impact threw him into a ditch near a drain.

“He got hit extremely hard. It probably threw him about 30 feet,” said Brock’s dad, James Vanek. “The speed limit is 40, but people go faster. People really go zooming by here.”

Skid marks can still be seen on the white crosswalk lines.

According to St. Louis County Police, “He was struck by a Ford Bronco traveling southbound on Old State Road. Statements provided by those involved reflect visibility issues with this intersection.”

James said Brock FaceTimed him after the incident.

“I’m looking at my son laying in a ditch, and I was obviously very upset,” the father said. “I jump in my car, and I’m thinking was that the last time I’m going to talk to my son.”

Brock ended up with a broken ankle, but James Vanek said it’s not clear if the injuries could have long-term effects.

“I would have suspected he would have had a broken hip, broken ribs, maybe back injury, internal bleeding, none of that, it was amazing, it was a miracle,” Brock’s dad said.

Vanek said he would like to see a pedestrian-activated light or more signs as a short-term solution. As a long-term solution, he said a roundabout would be an option.

However, Wildwood Mayor Jim Bowlin said they had recommended that to St. Louis County, but it was not approved.

Mayor Bowlin said the road is owned by St. Louis County, but Wildwood’s citizen-led Board of Public Safety makes recommendations to the county. Mayor Bowlin said he and the board will look at these issues.

“I’ve suggested to them, and I would be part of this and recommend to the board of public safety that they at least take a look at whether there can be things that we can do as a city in terms of making recommendations to the county to implement things that could hopefully reduce this from happening again,” Mayor Bowlin said. “I’d like to see anything that would make it safer if it’s possible to do something for not only this individual that’s part of our wildwood family but anyone else that might be through that section of the road.”

The Vanek’s aren’t the only ones with these concerns. A neighborhood with 20 kids uses the same crosswalk to get to and from school each day, crossing over the busy Old State Road. The parents have a stop sign they hold to walk across the street with their children safely.

“I want to see flashing lights so people are really cautious about people crossing through,” Kerri Steele said.

“It’s dangerous because people always keep going and not seeing us,” Matthew Heady said.

“A lot of them go really, really fast like they don’t even see us,” Abby Steele said.

No charges have been filed against the driver.

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