Crossing guard speaks out on 'death trap' intersection
By Stefanie Bainumsbainum@abcnews4.com
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - For more than a year, the intersection at Sangaree Elementary school has been making headlines.
In May 2012, a crossing guard was seriously injured by a car while working. In February of this year, the Berkeley County School District and Sheriff's Office started the "Drive Like Your Child Lives Here" campaign the same month another crossing guard was nearly hit.
Things seemed to be getting better lately for the Sangaree Parkway and Royle Road intersection -- with the School District saying they hadn't gotten any complaints from parents or had any reported traffic problems lately. That is, until now.
Full-time Sangaree crossing guard Elizabeth Taylor called and spoke exclusively to ABC News 4 saying she had seen the last straw and couldn't stay silent anymore.
"This intersection, to put it bluntly, is a death trap," crossing guard Elizabeth Taylor said.
Taylor said the last straw was when she watched a Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy disregard a fellow crossing guard.
"She was in the middle of the road actively crossing children across the road," Taylor said. "He didn't have his siren on; he didn't have his lights on; he was going slow. He paused when she told him to stop and he informed her that he was going to go anyway, even though she was terrified because of the children, he went anyway."
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office admits that the incident did happened, but that the officer was going to a call -- providing backup on a domestic violence situation -- and the officer needed to take a short cut.
Taylor says call or not, it was wrong.
"There was no indication that he was in any hurry, in any way, and if he was, how is that any different from a parent who is late for work?" Taylor asked.
Amy Kovach of the Berkeley County School District says that the district supports their staff 100 percent but also has, and will, continue a good partnership with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.
"I think her feelings are legitimate. Anytime when you are passionate about helping children and your heart and your soul are in that activity and you see something that you feel is in violation of helping children your instant emotion takes over and that feeling of fear," said Kovach.
Elizabeth Taylor said she is anxious to hang up her orange vest for the summer and she hopes crossing guards can get the support they need from the sheriff's office by the next school year.
"If they don't respect the crossing guards and crosswalk, who will?" Taylor asked.
A Berkeley County Sheriff's Office spokesman said that the safety of the children is of the "utmost concern." The official said that despite what Elizabeth Taylor said, the officer who drove through the crosswalk made sure there were "no children in the way."
The spokesman said that Berkeley County deputies patrol the intersection on a regular basis.