A volunteer crossing guard pushed children out of the path of an approaching car in front of Stanley Middle School in Lafayette Wednesday – taking the impact of the collision himself.
His family identified the crossing guard as 45-year-old Ashley Dias, a Lafayette resident and product of both Stanley Middle and Acalanes High School who volunteered as a crossing guard because there was a shortage of people willing to do the job. His family said Wednesday was only his second day on the job.
Panicked calls for help started to come in at 3 p.m. as the collision unfolded, children screaming as the guard was hit and dragged under the car, rescuers having to jack it up to reach the unresponsive man.
A child who contacted this site said the unidentified guard saw the SUV coming toward and pushed him clear, the car striking a glancing blow to the child’s bike but catching the guard on its passenger side.
Dias was rushed to a local hospital but died there, according to family members. The child suffered a minor injury.
Initial reports that several other children had been struck along with the guard turned out to be untrue, with many children rushing home to tell parents of the tragedy.
Investigators shut down the area of School Street at Paradise Court for several hours following the collision.
There was no immediate word if drugs or alcohol played a part in the tragedy. The driver of the car was taken to Lafayette police headquarters for an interview, neighbors saying that she had only just picked up a child from school before the collision occurred.
By nightfall, small bunches of flowers and mourning candles had begun to appear at the scene of the accident, a handwritten note reading: “Thank you for keeping us safe.”
On Thursday, Mayor Susan Candell offered her condolences to Ashley Dias’s family.
“What happened is a true tragedy in every way,” she wrote. “We will need to mourn and heal together as a community, and support all of the families who were involved.”
Rest in Power Mr Dias. Thank you for bravery and courage. May your friends’ and family’s immense grief be lightened by the fact you gave your life in such a selfless and heroic fashion. The community will not forget you.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.
I just read your first Tweet about this from yesterday. It was chilling.
Sad yet inspiring. Too many senseless, preventable pedestrian-car accidents & deaths locally of late. Cell phones distracting people?
– Dublin leader hit in parking lot (deceased)
– Walnut Creek skate boarder hit (today)
– Lafayette crossing guard (deceased)
– Danville NFL coach (Knapp) killed on bicycle
To which we must add Joe Shami, cyclist, struck by car and killed in Lafayette. Martin Nelis in 2019…
The Daily Mail has more details and photographs of our hero, a biomedical researcher and gentle soul.
time to rename a certain street for a certain local crossing guard.
Stunningly heartbreaking. In awe of this mans bravery.
Perhaps if we moved those fancy license plate cameras to school crosswalks and made sure every transgressor was fined heavily for speeding, passing in the crosswalk, etc.
We don’t even punish people who run over and kill bicyclists in the bike lane, some would claim involuntary manslaughter.