Originally created 01/08/97

Crossing guard hit, not seriously hurt



A Richmond County school crossing guard was hit by a car Tuesday morning but was not seriously injured.

Mary Fletcher, a crossing guard at Mims Road, across from Hephzibah Middle and Hephzibah High schools, was struck around 7:09 a.m. by a 1978 Chevrolet Nova driven by Janette Hinson, 54.

Ms. Hinson, of 2359 Mims Road, was arrested and charged with having no driver's license, no proof of insurance and failure to obey an authorized person directing traffic. She told police she did not see Mrs. Fletcher.

A school bus was nearby when the car hit Mrs. Fletcher and two other buses drove past the accident scene, but no children were injured, Hephzibah Middle Principal Chris Henry said.

"The kids were just scared to death," Mr. Henry said. "It was an accident. It was raining. It was dark. I feel for the adult who apparently hit her."

Mrs. Fletcher did not see the car bearing down on her because she was looking in the opposite direction at another vehicle that did not appear to be stopping, police said. Mr. Henry said she was struck in the hip and knocked down.

Mrs. Fletcher's husband told Mr. Henry on Tuesday afternoon she had not broken any bones. Doctors kept her overnight at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Mr. Henry said.

Mrs. Fletcher was listed in good condition at MCG late Tuesday.

"She's just banged up, bruised a little bit, but she's going to be all right," said Richmond County Sheriff's Deputy Clifford Seago, supervisor for the crossing guards.

Mr. Henry and other teachers sheltered Mrs. Fletcher with umbrellas while they waited for medical help.

As she was loaded into the ambulance, "She said, `Chris, go get my cigarettes out in the car. They're not going to let me smoke them, but I want them anyway,'°" Mr. Henry said, laughing. "I said, `Good sign.'°"

Mrs. Fletcher's accident comes just after the 1-year anniversary of the last Richmond County crossing guard struck by a car. On Jan. 4, 1996, Sarah Whitaker was hit after she pushed a young boy out of a vehicle's path.

Staff Writer Alisa DeMao contributed to this article.