'He died a hero': Crossing guard dies saving kids from car near Lafayette middle school

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Crossing guard dies saving kids from car near Lafayette school
A volunteer crossing guard was killed as he saved children from an oncoming car near a Lafayette middle school, his family told ABC7 News.

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- Dismissal at Stanley Middle School in Lafayette took a tragic turn Wednesday, when an SUV hit a crossing guard and student in front of the school.

Police say the SUV hit the crossing guard and a child around 3 p.m. The child has minor injuries and the crossing guard was rushed to the hospital.

The crossing guard's family told ABC7 news reporter, Kate Larsen, that he was killed as he saved children from an oncoming car.

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"He was getting pulled out by the paramedics and he was getting CPR," said 6th grader, Stella Champion, who says at the time School Street was crowded with students. "I think there was a kid injured, but the crossing guard saved the kid."

The crossing guard, 45-year-old Ashley Dias, was working at Stanley, the same middle school he attended while growing up in Lafayette.

"It is unbelievable, just this morning we spoke to him, in the afternoon we spoke to him before he went at 2 o'clock for the crossing," explained his father, Fabio Dias.

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Fabio and Gloria Dias live nearby. They say Ashley lived in San Francisco and worked in IT, but when he visited them, he would often help out at the school, since they were short on guards.

"He was a great son," said Fabio, "It's devastating."

An unthinkable task for any parent, Fabio and Gloria went to John Muir Hospital to identify their son's body.

"The father of one of the kids came to me, a doctor at John Muir Hospital, and he said 'if it wasn't for your son, my daughter would be dead,'" said Gloria, who continued through tears, "he died a hero, but he'll never come back to us, he's gone."

As for the driver of the SUV - she is the grandmother of a Stanley student who was in the car during the accident. ABC7 News reporter, Kate Larsen, spoke to her son on the phone, who said both his mom and son are home and physically okay. He declined an interview but said, "we are so incredibly sorry and devastated by this unthinkably horrible accident."