Crossing guard hit by van while working returns to his post, has message for drivers

Posted at 10:12 PM, Aug 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-22 11:23:13-04

OREM, Utah - Last March an 80-year-old Orem crossing guard was hit by a van while helping children cross the street.

Now that school is back in session, he's urging drivers to be safe and to pay attention in school zones.

"I was out in the cross walk to help some little girls across I felt something hit my ankles," Jerry T. Smith said.

It was earlier this year in front of Orchard Elementary School in Orem when Smith was hit by a driver who was not paying attention.

"I had neck injuries, simple fractures in my leg and in my back," Smith said.

It took several months for Smith to recover.

Now, at the start of a new school year, he's back at work and has a message for those behind the wheel.

"Slow down to 20 miles an hour, keep looking around for kids that are crossing the street and go through the whole 20 mph area at a safe speed," Smith said.

Driving just one mile over the school zone's 20 mph speed limit comes with a fine of $140.

"They're pretty steep but they're that way for a reason because the whole reason for a school zone is to protect our children,"Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez said.

Since Jerry has been back at work, he said he's been more careful than ever and he's urging drivers to do the same.

"You need to be careful to make sure you're driving slow so you don't hit anyone, 'cause you never know what's going to happen," Smith said.

Smith says he's grateful he wasn't killed by the car that hit him and he's happy to finally be back with, what he calls, his kids.

"I just love the children, I love the school, I love being here to help them cross the street. It's a job I thoroughly enjoy."