Around 7:20 this morning, a motorist hit a school crossing guard who was working at Rutherford and Lumpkin streets as children and adults made their way to nearby Barrow Elementary School. The crossing guard, Bradley Poulnott, 79, had been on the job less than a month, police officials said.
According to Georgia State Patrol Corporeal Tracy Webb, Poulnott was on the east side of Lumpkin Street when he saw a car pull into the parking lot of the Mormon church across the street. Many Barrow parents park in the lot and walk their children a block to school.
As he made his way across Lumpkin to escort the child and parent back across the street, Betty Harper McWhorter was turning left onto Lumpkin from Rutherford. She hit Poulnott on his left side, and he rolled up onto her Hyundai Sonata and fell off. His lower right leg was broken.
McWhorter, a 71-year-old Hull resident, was heading to her job at UGA, Webb said. She told officials she just didn't see Poulnott. Webb said there were two witnesses: the driver following behind the Sonata and another driver who was stopped on Lumpkin at the red light, headed toward her job at UGA.
"I feel sorry for both of them [Poulnott and McWhorter]," said Webb. He is still investigating the incident but so far hasn't cited McWhorter.
Traffic was blocked at the Lumpkin and Milledge intersection, and the police officer directing traffic allowed only first responders from the Five Points Fire Station to come through. They helped Poulnott until an ambulance arrived and transported him to Athens Regional.
Some staff members from Barrow gathered at the intersection, as did parents of the many children who walk and ride to school.
Athens Clarke County Police public information specialist Hilda Sorrow said that school crossing guards are employees of the police department, not the school system. Several years ago, a guard heading to work at Alps Road School was hit in her car at the intersection of Broad Street and Alps Road, and she died of her injuries.
This incident marks the first time a school crossing guard has been hit in Athens Clarke County, police officials said.