This past November, a school crossing guard was hit and killed in Cobb County. The victim was struck while performing her morning crossing guard duties near a local middle school when an aggressive driver sped through the roadway and attempted to switch lanes. The driver swerved and struck the victim, killing her at the scene. This tragedy has left both community and family members demanding change in, what has been considered by many, a dangerous roadway.
Edna Umeh, 64, was a crossing guard for Linley Middle School in Cobb County, Ga. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Umeh was performing her usual crossing guard duties along Veterans Memorial Highway around 9 a.m. on November 30. As other drivers were slowing down upon entering the school zone, a 2016 Ford Focus sped through the roadway and attempted to swerve into a center lane. The driver struck Umeh in front of several students and parents.
According to the same report from the AJC, the driver was identified as Lamonte Roosevelt Whitaker, 38. Emergency responders had to remove the roof of his vehicle to free him from the car. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. In another report from Channel 2 Action News, the police accused Whitaker of driving recklessly, confirming witnesses’ reports. Some witnesses stated Whitaker came “swerving out of nowhere.” One witness said Umeh was hurled into the air upon impact, traveling as high as the surrounding power lines.
This accident on Veterans Memorial Highway has sparked outcry from surrounding community members and members of Umeh’s family. According to a separate article from the AJC, this accident has urged authorities to demand change for the roadway, as it is notorious for speeders and reckless driving. A friend of Umeh, Nina Williams, told the AJC that she had spoken to the victim the day before the accident regarding speeders on Veterans Memorial Highway. Williams suggested she call the police, but Umeh felt as if she was unable to file a complaint. The same article revealed that faculty and staff from a neighboring private school felt as if this incident was a “matter of time” as the road has always been a matter of concern.
Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid released the following statement to the AJC regarding the accident: “This is a high-speed corridor with few traffic lights that needs to be addressed immediately.” Commissioner Cupid also said she has tried contacting both the Cobb County and Georgia Departments of Transportation to discuss the dangerous conditions of Veterans Memorial Highway to hopefully prevent tragedies like the one that took Umeh’s life.
School zones have lower speed limits for a reason. Drivers should always reduce speed and increase awareness when traveling through a roadway where children, parents or employees might be present. Deaths like Umeh’s can be avoided if drivers remain patient and wait to exit a school zone before increasing speed and attempting to change lanes. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a personal injury or a wrongful death as the result of a reckless or distracted driver, call one of our attorneys at Schneider Hammers today. We are committed to holding irresponsible drivers accountable for their actions and winning you the compensation you deserve.