UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) — A well-liked crossing guard is in critical condition after she was hit by a yellow cab on the Upper East Side in Manhattan on Monday.
It’s the second time in less than three weeks in which a vehicle has hit a crossing guard. In a case last month in Queens, the crossing guard died from the impact of the collision. Now, people who know the woman in the latest case in Manhattan are hoping that she doesn’t meet the same fate, and they’re calling for more to be done to protect crossing guards’ safety.
The incident on Monday was at one of Manhattan’s busiest intersections: 96th Street and Lexington Avenue. At 2:36 p.m., the 61-year-old guard was working in the intersection when a westbound yellow cab turned from 96th Street onto the avenue, knocking over the woman, whose name has not been released.
Police investigators said that she sustained severe head trauma after hitting the pavement.
People who know the crossing guard reacted emotionally on Tuesday.
“I’m shocked,” said Edwin Rivera, who lives a few blocks from the intersection, and said that he sees and talks with the crossing guard a few times a week. “I’m not going to lie,” he continued. “I’m shocked.”
Person after person passing by talked about their concern for the woman’s well-being. Their conversations made very clear on Tuesday that the Monday afternoon collision had been widely talked about in this community.
They also made clear that the crossing guard is valued here, as a person.
“So nice to everybody,” said Christine Hallahan, a local resident who’d been on scene Monday afternoon. “Just so friendly.”
“She’s a nice lady,” said another woman, as she walked through the intersection. “Super nice lady.”
While they praised the injured crossing guard, they also talked about her condition relative to that of someone else.
“There was another crossing guard that got hit not that long ago,” said Michelle Ferguson, who’d entered the intersection after leaving a nearby doctor’s appointment. “But she didn’t make it.”
She and others made reference to an incident on Oct. 20 in which crossing guard Krystyna Naprawa, 63, lost her life, in Woodhaven, Queens, after a dump truck hit her.
That collision, which happened right after Naprawa had helped people cross the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, was the third collision in recent months involving a crossing guard, according to DC37, the crossing guards’ union.
In the Woodhaven case, the dump truck driver, Hector Yepes, 39, was charged with two minor violations, including failure to yield to a pedestrian.
At the scene of Monday’s crash, some residents, including ones who know the crossing guard, said that tougher penalties for such collisions could help reduce them.
“They need to be more protective,” said Rivera, who lives nearby.
Ferguson, who said that the intersection was less safe without a crossing guard, also said that the crossing guards need to be kept more safe.
“They’re out here, and you have traffic coming this way, that way, that way,” she said, pointing at each entrance to the intersection, “and you’re not protected.”
Two New York City public schools and a private preschool are within a block of the intersection of 96th Street and Lexington Avenue. The parent leaders of the schools said that they’re organizing a letter-writing program so that students can express their feelings for the crossing guard to her in the hospital. They hope that will help to boost her spirits and help her heal.