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Decatur Police announce arrest in hit-and-run crash involving crossing guard

Crime and public safety Decatur Trending

Decatur Police announce arrest in hit-and-run crash involving crossing guard

Decatur Police car. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — Decatur Police on Sept. 12 announced the arrest of a man accused of striking a beloved school crossing guard on Monday morning.

Police said Alrahman Heath, 38, was arrested around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday by Decatur Police in the 300 block of West Howard Avenue, not far from the crash scene at the intersection of South Candler Street and East College Avenue. He’s facing charges of a hit-and-run and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

A booking photo of Alrahman Heath. Photo provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

Bender said an alert Decatur High student witnessed the crash and gave police all the details they needed to make the arrest. The student also rendered aid to the crossing guard, identified as 69-year-old Decatur resident Jeffery Smith. The driver allegedly struck Smith in the back before leaving.

Sgt. John Bender said the student “did an excellent job” of providing the details that led to the arrest, including the make and model of the car — a red Chevrolet Cruze — some description of the driver, and the license plate number. Bender said the driver admitted to hitting Smith when he was arrested.

Smith suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering at home. The Talley Street Elementary community is organizing care packages and other support for Smith as he recovers. The crash angered many in the city of Decatur, where crossing guards are an essential part of daily life for students going to school.

“Instances like this strike close to home,” Bender said. “We have a huge walking population.”

Bender said Decatur has a robust crossing guard program, with 42 crossing guards helping direct students on their way to school as they cross busy streets.

“All 42 are really awesome, amazing people,” Bender said.

Many are retirees. They have a special connection with the students they see every day.

“Many of our crossing guards dress up on holidays,” Bender said. “They go well above and beyond what is asked of them.”

Decaturish has requested a copy of the incident report. Heath remained in the county jail as of Tuesday evening.

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