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Tragedy Strikes Queens as Dump Truck Driver Kills School Crossing Guard

ambulance at accident sceneA school crossing guard, Krystyna Naprawa, 63 years old and a resident of Howard Beach, lost her life last Friday morning when she was struck and killed by a dump truck making a right turn at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue in Queens.

The accident occurred at approximately 8 a.m. when a 39-year-old dump truck driver turned onto Atlantic Avenue, colliding with Krystyna Naprawa as she was fulfilling her duty as a crossing guard. Despite the immediate response from emergency services, she tragically succumbed to her injuries at the scene.

The driver, identified as Hector Yepes, was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care.

Krystyna Naprawa had dedicated herself to safeguarding the lives of students since 2010. To her, this job was more than just a profession; it was a calling. Donald Nesbit, the executive vice president of the union representing school crossing guards, emphasized how deeply she cared for the children she served. “Her job was everything” to her, he stated.

Nesbit has also called upon the NYPD to hire additional crossing guards, particularly at dangerous intersections like the one where Naprawa lost her life. This plea comes at a time when the NYPD is planning to reduce the number of guard posts citywide.

This fatal accident in Queens highlights a concerning trend. Between 2012 and 2022, 73 school crossing guards were struck and injured by drivers, as revealed in a recent investigation by Streetsblog. Shockingly, only one-third of these drivers were charged, mostly with minor traffic violations.

The intersection of Woodhaven and Atlantic, known for being busy and extra-wide, has already seen 12 car crashes and multiple injuries in the first nine months of 2023. City data compiled by Crashmapper underscores the urgency of implementing measures to enhance safety.

As we grapple with this heartbreaking incident, it serves as a stark reminder of the need for comprehensive efforts to ensure the safety of crossing guards, pedestrians, and the entire community. As dump truck accident attorneys we know that the legal consequences for accidents like these can provide some form of justice, but it is imperative that proactive measures are taken to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the first place.