Community urges change after school crossing guard 'hit head on'

SANGAREE, SC (WCSC) - What Jacqueline Rhine witnessed at the intersection of Royle Road and School House Lane, Wednesday morning, was her worst nightmare.

"Everyday I say that crossing guard is going to get hit," said Rhine. "And she got hit this morning."

A few cars away from the collision, Rhine says she watched a teenager accelerate through the intersection and bare down on 35-year-old crossing guard Natalie Boles, who was helping children cross the street for school.

"The crossing guard was right in the middle," said Rhine. "She just hit her head on. I'm sick to my stomach."

State Troopers say a 16-year-old girl hit Boles with the pick up truck she was driving just before 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Charles Powell, who lives right across the street from the elementary and intermediate schools where the accident happened, was shocked but not surprised.

"They come by here doing 50 miles an hour and it's a 25 mile an hour thing," said Powell. "They come flying past here."

Powell lives on Royle Road and says drivers treat it like a race track when school is starting and when kids are being picked up.

"I've got children that live right across the street and I won't let them come in the front yard. I'm so scared," said Powell. "The morning time it's a cluster. It's packed all the way down and there's kids coming from both sides."

Both Powell and Rhine say they've been actively asking for either a traffic light or a police presence at the intersection to get drivers to slow down.

"They don't pay attention, they don't look, and they just want to hurry up and be that next car to go," says Rhine, talking about the drivers who she says rule Royle Rd.

Powell says the next car that tries to disobey the posted signs and lights could end someone's life.

"Please slow down," urged Powell. "You're going to hit somebody and kill them. Just pay attention."

Kathie Sizemore with the Berkeley County school district says the South Carolina Department Of Transportation did conduct a traffic study on the intersection in the last few years.

Sizemore says the study covered traffic flow, but not a light.

"We can ask SCDOT to revisit the study," said Sizemore after hearing the news Wednesday and speaking with parents. "If they determine a light is warranted, we will do what we can to encourage its installation."

Sizemore says in the meantime, "the District would like to remind drivers to use caution when approaching any school crossing area.  Slowing down, arriving early and discontinuing use of mobile devices in school zones are always important to consider."

The teen was charged by South Carolina Highway Patrol with disobeying a school guard directing traffic and faces a $225 fine and four points on her license.

Boles was taken to MUSC by ground transport after the accident. As of Wednesday night, she was listed in critical condition.

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