• Family demands action after school crossing guard killed by 'aggressive' driver

    By: Chris Jose

    Updated:

    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - A heartbroken family said a reckless driver killed their loved one on a dangerous road outside a school. 

    A day after the death of Cobb County Schools crossing guard Edna Umeh, her family is demanding action.

    "In order to keep these children safe, you need to slow down," said a tearful Rahim Tarver, Umeh's youngest son. "Lord, I just want you to protect everybody."

    On Thursday, Cobb County police said Lamonte Whitaker aggressively drove into the center lane in a designated school zone on Veterans Memorial Highway before classes started at Lindley Middle School. 

    Whitaker hit Umeh, a grandmother who spent much of her life helping children.


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    "It cost our sister's life," said Toni Hunt, Umeh's sister. "If it takes police being with them (crossing guards), I think people would be more mindful." 

    Channel 2's Chris Jose spend Friday afternoon observing the traffic outside of the school. He recorded video of several cars who ignored the crossing guard's stop sign. 

    Hershel Pitts is Umeh's partner. He told Jose he was hit by a car a year ago and that he witnessed the reckless driver mow down Umeh on Thursday.

    "I'm devastated," he told Jose off-camera.

    A Cobb County spokesman said a uniformed police officer will help with traffic duties until a new crossing guard is hired and trained.

    Cobb County announced a corridor safety audit will be conducted where Umeh was killed. 

    Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid called for the action following the death of Edna Umeh, 64, of Austell. 

    The long-time crossing guard was hit and killed by a driver allegedly weaving through traffic in the school zone just outside of Lindley Middle School.

    “You feel horrible and I hate the fact that it took something like this for all of the concerns about this stretch of highway to be taken seriously,” Cupid said. “This is not the first time these concerns have been raised, we’ve had a number of stakeholders to bring this to their attention with little or nothing to be done.”
     
    Veterans Memorial Highway is a state roadway. According to GDOT officials, a corridor safety audit is automatically conducted when there is a pedestrian fatality.

    Cobb Department of Transportation Director Jim Wilgus said the audit will assess the problems along Veterans Memorial Highway that includes speeding drivers. 

    The most immediate solution he said could involve placing medians on the road that include pedestrian refuge islands.
     
    Cobb County Police Chief Michael Register stated that officers will focus traffic enforcement efforts in the area in the upcoming weeks, and will work and coordinate with the Board of Education and DOT elements to enhance traffic and pedestrian safety in the area. 

    The Cobb Police STEP Unit is continuing to investigate the circumstances of the accident.

    Umeh's family created a memorial fund in her name.

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