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Driver flees the scene after hitting Decatur school crossing guard

Crime and public safety Decatur Trending

Driver flees the scene after hitting Decatur school crossing guard

Decatur Police car. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — Decatur Police are on the lookout for the driver of a red sedan that hit a Decatur school crossing guard on Sept. 11.

The guard experienced non-life-threatening injuries, was transported to the hospital, and is expected to be OK. The driver is facing serious consequences for fleeing the scene.

Sgt. John Bender told Decaturish, “On Monday, September 11, 2023, at approximately 8:19 am, Decatur Police responded to the intersection of South Candler Street and East College Avenue in reference to an accident involving a City of Decatur crossing guard. The accident investigation revealed the crossing guard entered into the intersection at the appropriate time to cross a student across South Candler Streetd.

“A red sedan was turning right onto South Candler Street from East College Avenue. The driver of the sedan failed to yield to the crossing guard and struck the guard. The crossing guard suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The driver of the sedan fled the scene in the vehicle. The City of Decatur Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division is actively working on the case and following up on leads. If you have any information in this case, please contact the Decatur Police Department at 404-373-6551.”

This is a developing story that will be updated when more information is available.

The crash has residents calling for Decatur to make changes to improve pedestrian safety. Hilary Merlin lost her mom, Judith, in 2018 in a pedestrian crash. She was hit while using a crosswalk. Merlin’s family sued the city and won a $5 million settlement.

The suit alleged that Decatur had admitted its traffic and pedestrian signals are “out of date” and “obsolete.”

Additionally, following Merlin’s death, GDOT “acted to correct the danger to pedestrians in Downtown Decatur by planning and executing a light re-timing project for the entire downtown Decatur area,” the lawsuit states.

Hilary Merlin said her family is grateful for the work school crossing guards do and said the community needs to do a better job of protecting them and pedestrians using busy intersections.

“Bless this man for protecting our children from the threat of being killed or injured by cars as they walk to school,” Hilary Merlin said. “We need to do better. Crashes involving pedestrians can be prevented with improved street and crosswalk design. For example, we know that low-cost leading pedestrian intervals (traffic signals that give walkers a 3-7 second head start before motorists get their green) save lives. I call on the city of Decatur to establish a comprehensive system for reviewing all crashes involving pedestrians, to make infrastructure improvements based on their findings, and to communicate openly with the public about these processes.”

Merlin recommended people visit visionzeronetwork.org and letspropelatl.org for more information about safety improvements the city could implement.

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