Volunteer crossing guard dies saving kids from car

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (AP) — A volunteer crossing guard pushed children from the path of a vehicle that ended up striking and killing him near a middle school in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ashley Dias, 45, is being hailed as a hero after he saved a group of children leaving Stanley Middle School in Lafayette from an SUV Wednesday.

Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Lafayette police officers and residents pulled an unresponsive victim from under the car. Officers administered CPR until he was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

A child who was also struck by the vehicle had minor injuries and was taken to a hospital as a precaution, the office said.

Officials didn’t identify Dias but his parents, Fabio and Gloria Dias, told KGO-TV it was their son. They said Ashley lived in San Francisco but that when he visited them, he would often help out at the nearby school because they were short on guards.

“The father of one of the kids came to me, a doctor at John Muir Hospital, and he said, ‘If it wasn’t for your son, my daughter would be dead,’” Gloria told KGO-TV through tears. “He died a hero, but he’ll never come back to us, he’s gone.”

The Diases did not immediately return a message Thursday from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Ashley Dias was a clinical research associate at a biotechnology firm and had been volunteering as a crossing guard at Stanley Middle School, the same middle school he attended while growing up in Lafayette, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The driver of the SUV is the grandmother of a Stanley student who was in the car during the crash, KGO-TV reported. Her son said both his mom and son are home and physically okay. He declined an interview but said, “we are so incredibly sorry and devastated by this unthinkably horrible accident.”

The driver has been interviewed by authorities and is cooperative, sheriff’s officials said.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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