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Distracted teen injured after walking into traffic

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- While there has been a big push against distracted driving, Topeka police say an incident Wednesday in which a 15-year-old high school student was seriously hurt after wandering into traffic shows how important it is for pedestrians to pay attention, too.

Witnesses told investigators the boy -- later identified as a student at Hayden High School -- had just pushed the button on the lighted crosswalk and "didn't even wait a half a second" before stepping into oncoming traffic, police spokesman Lt. Mike Cross told the Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/1aTHScQ ).

"He walked right in front of the car, and the car couldn't react fast enough to what he was doing," Cross said, adding that all of the witnesses said Harmon was talking on his cellphone.

Paramedics found the teen had head wounds and other lacerations. Cross said the student was taken to a local hospital and in stable condition.

The newspaper reported that a single tennis shoe that came off during impact was cordoned off by orange road cones.

The woman who was driving the car and three young children in it with her were not injured.

Pedestrians need to be aware that they are part of the roadway and need to be alert and not distracted, Cross said.

"As pedestrians, we also need to be careful that we're paying attention to our surroundings and that we're careful of what the other vehicles are doing around us," he said.

Mike Monaghan, dean of students at Hayden High School, identified the boy on Twitter as a freshman and said, "Thank God he is OKAY."