LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KRON) — A school crossing guard died after being struck by an SUV in Lafayette.
Family identified him as 45-year-old Ashley Dias from San Francisco, who died working to help kids safely cross the street. The school district said it was only his second day on the job.
The crash happened outside of Stanley Middle School on Wednesday, on School Street and Paradise Court.
The Lafayette School District tells KRON4 that the tragedy happened right after the Stanley Middle School students were dismissed for the day. At that time, the area is usually congested, so “speeding is not really possible,” the school district said.
The district’s superintendent stresses the crash was not intentional. “It wasn’t somebody who was trying to dodge around the traffic rules or drive unsafely. It was an accident in every sense.”
A makeshift memorial with flowers was placed on the sidewalk in honor of Dias. One sign reads, “THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US SAFE.”
According to police, an SUV had hit the crossing guard as well as one child. The child had minor injuries.
Dias was trapped under the car and was pulled out by witnesses. He was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police have not shared what led up to the crash and have not identified the driver. At last check, the driver was reportedly being cooperative.
A statement from the school district sent to parents and students partially reads:
We are extraordinarily saddened to learn of the loss of a member of our school community, and our thoughts are with his family and friends. We also regret the terrible impact of this accident on the student directly involved, the family members, and the additional students who witnessed the accident. […]
We have been working in an ongoing partnership with the City to ensure that each of our school sites has the best and safest routes available to students for drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon. This incident is a reminder of the importance of these efforts for our families — safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers is paramount, and we will continue our efforts to provide high quality education and training to support the best safety practices.
Lafayette School District letter sent to parents/guardians on Sept. 8, 2021
The school district added that many students were on the scene when the crash happened, and the principal plus extra counseling support is available.