Truck hits guard

James Howard, a parent of a Sangaree Intermediate School student, describes how a pickup truck turning left into the school struck a crossing guard Wednesday morning at the the intersection of Royle Road and Sangaree Parkway.

A crossing guard was hit by a pick up truck Wednesday morning outside Sangaree Intermediate School, prompting parents to renew their calls for a traffic light.

The crash was reported at 7:27 a.m. outside the school at the intersection of Royle Road and Sangaree Parkway. Natalie C. Boles, the 35-year-old crossing guard from Summerville, was taken to Medical University Hospital with critical injuries.

She was in intensive care Wednesday afternoon, according to school officials.

James Howard, a parent of a fifth-grader at Sangaree Intermediate, said he was waiting at the stop sign at Sangaree Parkway when he saw the crossing guard escort some children across the road. He said he saw a white pickup truck accelerate quickly to turn left from Royle Road into the school parking lot.

The truck struck the guard at between 20 and 30 mph, he said.

“When she hit, she hit hard,” Howard said. “When she laid down, she stayed down.”

Berkeley County rescuers reported that Boles was unconscious at the scene.

The driver of the 1997 Chevrolet pickup, a 16-year-old girl from Goose Creek, was ticketed $225 for disobeying a school guard, according to Cpl. Bob Beres of the S.C. Highway Patrol. Four points also were subtracted from her license.

The girl’s passenger was not named. The Post and Courier chose not to identify the juvenile driver.

Howard said he and other parents have been asking for a traffic light at the intersection since his son was in kindergarten. “It takes something like this for somebody to actually put a light up,” he said.

The S.C. Department of Transportation studied traffic flow at the intersection “a while back,” said Kathie Sizemore, spokeswoman for the Berkeley County School District.

Sizemore said that flashing lights, crossing guards, crosswalks and speed limit signs are in place to protect students but that the recent incident might prompt the district to ask the state to revisit the issue.

“Slowing down, arriving early and discontinuing use of mobile devices in school zones are always important to consider,” Sizemore said. “If (state experts) determine a light is warranted, we will do what we can to encourage its installation.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.