A security officer was fatally hit while directing traffic Monday morning on Arkansas 10 near Joe T. Robinson Elementary school, the Pulaski County Special School District said.
Victor Montgomery was directing traffic for the first day of school, between the elementary school and Joe T. Robinson High School on Arkansas 10, when a “vehicle traveling westbound struck the employee, dragging him several yards in the road before coming to a stop,” according to the news release.
Montgomery was taken to a local hospital and later died from his injuries, the district said in its news release.
He’d been with the district for seven years, serving the high school and assisting with traffic at the elementary school, the release said.
District officials said they were upset and saddened.
“Officer Montgomery may be gone but he will not be forgotten,” said Jay Pickering, principal of Joe T. Robinson High School, in the release. “Paw Paw will forever be in our hearts and the halls of Robinson High.”
The driver of the vehicle was 55-year-old Desmond Nkala of Little Rock, according to Cindy Murphy, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Public Safety.
“He is not a parent or school employee,” Murphy said. “He stopped immediately and has been cooperative in all aspects of the investigation. He consented to testing, and there was no suspected impairment.”
She said Nkala had been detained for investigative purposes, a routine procedure.
Murphy said an investigative case file will be presented to the prosecuting attorney, who will make the determination about any charges.
The school district stated in its news release: “It is imperative for motorists to slow down in school zones. There is absolutely no reason for any motorist to drive above the speed limit in this area any time of day, much less during school drop off and pick up time. This could have been avoided if motorists were more attentive and aware of their surroundings while driving in school zones.”
Murphy said that she did not know how fast Nkala was going when he struck Montgomery, nor was she able to find any previous instances of school crossing guards being killed in the state previously.
A spokesperson for the Pulaski County Special School District said schools have counselors on staff, but that the district is preparing in case additional resources are required to support students and teachers.
Three schools are within walking distance of each other in that area of west Pulaski County: Joe T. Robinson elementary, middle and high school.