Crossing guard at risky Oakland intersection

October 22, 2009 11:59:35 AM PDT
It took a young girl's death to bring about change in Oakland. For the first time a professional crossing guard is on duty at the intersection where 11-year-old Alana Williams was struck and killed by a hit and run driver last Friday. She was on her way to school.

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This is an intersection the community has long-complained is unsafe, because drivers speed and sometimes blow through the stop signs. So starting Thursday morning, a city-employed crossing guard began helping students, and anyone else, safely pass through this east Oakland crosswalk where the accident happened.

"We're helping try to get these kids back and forth to school," said crossing guard Bryan Taylor.

It was tough catching a few moments to speak with Bryan Taylor -- he's a very busy crossing guard. This is his first day assigned by the city of Oakland to work this intersection next to Frick Middle School and he knows it's a very special assignment.

"My son goes here so I found out then that the girl had gotten hit by a car, and it was a real tragic moment," said Taylor.

Foothill Boulevard and 64th Avenue is where 11-year-old Alana Williams died last Friday, when she was struck by a car. The sixth grader was on her way to class at Frick Middle School.

Witnesses say she had just gotten off an AC Transit bus and was in the crosswalk when a dark-colored sedan hit her. Police are still searching for that hit-and-run driver. It's been traumatic to fellow students.

"I was a little upset and I couldn't go to sleep that night," said 8th grader Myzil Waters.

"It hurts. It's sad because like one minute she's here and the next minute she gone," said 7th grader Sharonda Hill.

The city says it doesn't want this to happen again, so it's budgeted one crossing guard for Foothill and 64th.

"How do you feel seeing these cross guards here now? Does it make you feel safer?" asked ABC7's Teresa Garcia.

"Yes," said a group of students.

There are 52 crossing guards at elementary schools citywide. The Oakland police crossing guard supervisor says this is the first-ever position assigned to a middle school.

"This will be a position that will be here year in, year out. It's not going to change," said Stacey Perry with Oakland Police Traffic Safety.

Thursday morning one parent still brought his own stop sign to volunteer just in case more crossing guards were needed.

"I'd love to make sure that everything in my community where I live, and where the kids I be around live, and people I know their kids. Just to make sure that everybody's safe," said Oakland parent Don Juan Carter.

Many in this community tell ABC7 they appreciate the permanent crossing guard, but still want the city to consider replacing the stop signs with traffic signals at this intersection. Police still haven't found the hit-and-run driver and with crime stoppers are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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