Ashley Dias, a crossing guard at Stanley Middle School in California, died a hero Wednesday after he was hit by a car in Lafayette. The 45-year-old, who volunteered at the Bay Area middle school he once attended, was fatally struck after he pushed children out of the way of an oncoming vehicle.
According to witness statements, Ashley Dias saved multiple kids right before the accident, shoving children out of the way befo, re an SUV mowed him down. He was then trapped underneath the vehicle as middle school children watched. Emergency responders attempted to save the crossing guard, but he was pronounced dead on Wednesday, police confirmed.
In a statement posted Wednesday, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office claimed that the Lafayette police are investigating a fatal collision outside of Stanley Middle School. Authorities claimed that on Wednesday “afternoon at about 2:56 pm, Lafayette police officers were advised of a vehicle versus pedestrian collision in front of Stanley Middle School located at 3455 School Street in Lafayette.”
Police said that “one person was reported to be trapped under a vehicle,” though they didn’t officially identify the victim as Ashley Dias. Dias was later identified by his parents, reports claimed. The statement continued, saying that “Lafayette police officers, who were assisted by citizens, were able to pull an unresponsive person out from under the vehicle.”
“Officers administered CPR until relieved by fire department personnel,” the statement continued. “He was later transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”
Police also reported that a child was also struck by the vehicle. The unidentified kid was taken to the hospital “as a precaution: but was said to have only suffered minor injuries.
It was said that the driver of the SUV has been cooperating with the investigation and was interviewed. They were not identified as of Thursday morning, however, reports claimed it was a grandmother of one of the students at the middle school. No charges have been filed at this time.
According to Ashley Dias’ mother, Gloria Dias, the elderly woman had barreled toward the crosswalk as students crossed under Dias’ supervision. The volunteer crossing guard then rushed “to a group of students who were barely able to get out of the way and saw him push the student towards the sidewalk and just out of reach from the car.”
Gloria Dias told reporters that “I met one of the fathers in the hospital. And he said, ‘Your son saved my daughter’s life.’ [The father] said [his daughter] stopped but he walked in front to stop the car and the car just knocked him over and dragged him underneath.”
Dias’ mother continued, claiming a parent called her son “a hero” and said he “put his life on the line to save a student. He should definitely be remembered.” Gloria Dias also said that her son “was an amazing person. Just an amazing person.”
According to reports, Ashley Dias worked at a biotechnology firm but decided to volunteer at Stanley Middle School because he had learned there was a shortage of crossing guards. He wanted to give back to his community – the same community that helped raise him.
During the tragic incident, Dias was reportedly “pulled out” from under the car “by the paramedics and he was getting CPR.” A sixth-grader identified as Stella Champion recalled the incident to reporters. She said that “I think there was a kid injured, but the crossing guard saved the kid.”
Fabia Dias, the crossing guard’s father, explained that “he was doing his job as a crossing guard. He has done this many times.” He also noted to reporters that his son had started wearing a bright orange vest to make himself more visible to drivers. He claimed that “in spite of that, the car comes and hits him and kills him. And I lost my son.”
Dias’ father added that “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.”
The driver’s son, who was also not named, said that the family is “so incredibly sorry and devastated by this unthinkably horrible accident.” It wasn’t clear Thursday morning what caused the unfortunate car crash.
Still residents of the area claimed they saw this coming. Stephanie Levine from Lafayette explained that she was “not surprised,” it happened. “I’m not surprised,” she continued. “I knew this day was going to come because everybody is speeding here.”
Ashley Dias will be missed, his family told reporters. She claimed that her son’s sense of humor and devotion to his family made him unique. She said that “about 3 months ago, I had a fall and collapse and I was hospitalized for a month.”
She said that “he took time off from work, he came here. He took care of me, cooked my meals, took me to the hospital, took me to my doctor’s office. He did everything.”