Bob Nill, 88, a beloved crossing guard in Kansas City, was killed near Christ The King Catholic School in that city when he tried to save two young children, 8 and 11, from an approaching vehicle. According to an NBC News report, Nill was helping kids cross the street early morning on Feb. 18 when he saw a car approaching. Nill managed to stop two children from stepping off the sidewalk so they wouldn’t be hit by the vehicle but ended up being struck himself. He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition where he later died.
The school posted on its Facebook page that they prayed a rosary for Nill and referred to him as a “hero” for saving the two children. Nill reportedly started out as a crossing guard in 2015 after retiring from a previous job. The driver of the car was also transported to the hospital for his injuries. Officials said the driver is cooperating with an investigation into the crash.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members, friends and school community for this heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
A Dangerous Job
According to the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the position of school crossing guard has become one of the most dangerous occupations. Each year, numerous crossing guards are seriously injured or killed in their posts while protecting children. Over the last decade, accidents involving crossing guards have surged 65%. There is a reason for this increase. While 50% of children walked to school about 30 years ago, today, only 15% walk to school.
This means school zones are clogged with vehicular traffic, much more than they were designed to handle. Furthermore, motorists are often in a rush when they drop off or pick up their children. Too many drivers, most of them being parents, are not paying attention to the road because of cell phones or other distractions. All these factors have made the job of a crossing guard even more perilous.
There are very few details about how or why this particular fatal school zone crash occurred. One media report indicated speed may have been an issue. But officials are still looking into what may have caused the driver to strike Nill. There are a number of questions to ask here. Was the driver distracted or speeding? Was he impaired due to the use of alcohol and/or drugs? Did he recklessly fail to stop and yield to pedestrians? We hope officials examine these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here.
Families of deceased victims in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who will stay ahead of the official investigation and help ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. At this time, we can only pay our respects to Nill, a true hero, who put himself in harm’s way to protect these young children.