Crossing guard killed by car in Edgewater 2-auto collision causes driver to swerve onto concrete island station

December 23, 1997|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

An Edgewater crossing guard was killed yesterday when she was hit by a car spinning out of control after a collision near her traffic station, county police said.

Nancy Hardesty of the 3500 block of Loch Haven Road was severely injured in the collision and died a short time later at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She was 51, the mother of five adult children and a grandmother. She had been a guard for nearly four years.

"She's part of our family, and it's the same as if one of our officers got killed," said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver, who arrived at the hospital to deliver the devastating news to Hardesty's husband, Robert. The county hires crossing guards through the Police Department.

"They're a huge asset to us," Tolliver said. "We're going to do everything we can" for the family. Police said it was the first time in recent history that a crossing guard had been killed in the line of duty.

Hardesty was on a concrete island on the northeast corner of the intersection of Central Avenue and Mayo Road. The island divides the eastbound Central Avenue lanes from those turning north onto Mayo.

Police said Hardesty stood on the island every morning near a pole, pushing a button to trigger a signal change so that students could cross the busy road into a complex of schools that includes Central Middle, Elementary and Special schools, South River High and the Center for Applied Technology South.

Shortly before 8 a.m., a 1992 Ford Taurus going east on Central Avenue turned left onto Mayo Road and collided with a westbound 1998 Subaru Outback Legacy.

The collision sent the Legacy careening toward the right shoulder, over the island and into Hardesty. Witnesses included two children standing on the north side of Central Avenue waiting to cross the road and Central Middle School students on a bus that was waiting at the intersection to turn at the school complex, police and school officials said.

Another witness, crossing guard Portia Hawkins, 53, of the 500 block of Brentwood Road in Edgewater was treated for shock at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

The driver of the Legacy, Patricia M. Stone, 42, of the 3900 block of Germantown Road in Edgewater and the driver of the Taurus, 34-year-old Brenda Hutchins James and her 3-year-old son, both of the 1900 block of Wooded Trace in Owings, were treated for minor injuries and released.

The state's attorney's office is reviewing the accident.

School officials sent a member of the crisis intervention team to Central Middle School, but the school handled the incident with staff counselors, said schools spokeswoman Jane Doyle.

"It's tragic," Doyle said. "These folks are very valuable to the school system. They become a part of the family. Our thoughts are with all of the families."

At the holiday-decorated Hardesty home, a few miles away from the school, friends and family members stood against walls crying, hugging and consoling each another. The Hardesty children sat in a rear room, away from the others. No one wanted to talk.

Neighbors remembered Hardesty as part of a tight-knit family. They said she lived with her mother and husband, and baby-sat in addition to her crossing guard job.

"She's in on everything they do" at Mayo United Methodist Church, said Rita Howlin, a neighbor. "I know they have a big oyster and ham dinner, and she always runs that. They're a very, very wonderful family, very active in the church."

Pub Date: 12/23/97

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