WYOMING, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A longtime, local school crossing guard is recovering in the hospital after she was struck by a car. It happened Tuesday afternoon in Wyoming when elementary school students were being bussed home for the day. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, the fallout from the crash is more than just police finding the driver at fault.
“She just went… flying,” said Amanda Zupko as she described on Wednesday what happened to 71-year-old school crossing guard Mary Claire Jones a day earlier. Donna YonKondy provided Eyewitness News photos of the pedestrian crash that injured Ms. Jones who was struck by a car at Wyoming Avenue and Third Street in Wyoming. The impact was so severe it knocked her out of her shoes. Ms. Zupko who is a med-tech witnessed the crash and immediately called 911 before rendering aid. “I tried to keep her comfortable and talking to her because she was conscious. She was able to talk.”
Ms. Zupko’s seven-year-old son, a Wyoming Area School District student, was about to get off the bus when Ms. Jones was struck. When asked what she after she saw the pedestrian crash happen, Ms. Zupko said “(It) scares me to death because if that was a couple seconds later that could have been my son.”
Police charged the driver who struck Ms. Jones with failing to stop for a school bus. Ofc. Macson McGuirk who is the Wyoming Police Department Officer-In-Charge said, “He (the driver) proceeded through the bus. Obviously, there were some weather conditions or environmental conditions that were a factor with the sun glare.” Ms. Zupko commented, “If the sun is out, how do you not see a big, yellow school bus with the lights and everything, you know? And she walked out and he just kept going and he got her.”
Regardless of the circumstances that led to the crash, some are questioning should this busy road be a bus stop in the first place. Pizzano Auto Sales is located at the bus stop along the four lane highway. Jeff Pizzano is among those who says a change is necessary. “Definitely for the safety of the children boarding and departing the buses I think that would be a good idea.”
Wyoming Area School Superintendent Janet Serino told Eyewitness News after consulting with the district’s transportation supervisor and others an immediate change is in place. Students will now be dropped off on the side of the road where they live and not have to cross the highway. The policy has the backing of police. “Public safety being our primary concern we’re trying to mitigate whatever factors we can,” said Ofc. McGuirk.
The crossing guard was listed Wednesday in critical condition at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Police withheld the name of the driver who struck Ms. Jones saying the pedestrian crash is still an active investigation.