'Road rage' leaves crossing guard bruised, batteredPosted: Updated:
A crossing guard for a Valley elementary school is taking it slow after her release from a hospital for injuries she said she suffered in a case of road rage with a new twist.
Kathi Sylvester said she angered a driver when she told him to slow down while going through the school zone as she was placing the caution signs at a crosswalk in front of West Point Elementary School, 13700 W. Greenway Rd. in Surprise.
The result: a broken jaw, skinned elbow, bruising on her body, and an overnight hospital stay.
"I threw the sign up and yelled, 'STOP!' I smacked the side of his driver window," Sylvester said.
She didn't anticipate what would happen next.
"He jumped outta the car and said, 'How long do you need me to stop?' And I thought he was coming over to talk to me," Sylvester said. "Then he just came at me with a right hook and I don't remember anything after that."
Surprise police said they arrested Timothy Francisco, 59, on suspicion of aggravated assault and temporary disfigurement. Officers said he fled after the scene but later turned himself in. He told officers that he didn't punch Sylvester, just slapped her.
Sylvester, who was treated for her injuries by paramedics in front of the school, showed CBS 5 News a series of photos of her injuries she said she suffered from the beating.
"I don't want him to plead out," Sylvester said. "I don't want him to get a slap on the wrist and think it's OK."
Sylvester has been a crossing guard at the school for two years and said her job often resembles the video game Frogger because she has to jump out of the way and dodge inattentive drivers.
"I'll blow my whistle and a lot of times, they'll look at me, flip me off and keep going," Sylvester said.
She said she and a student were sideswiped by a driver last school year.
"It's like they don't care," Sylvester said. "And they don't stop to think it could be their child. It could be their grandchild."
She said drivers usually go 45 to 55 mph in the 35 mph zone. The speed drops to 15 mph with double fines during school hours.
She said her job would be made a lot easier if the city would allow the school to keep crosswalk signs up all day instead of putting them out and pulling them back twice a day.
The district said it is talking with the city to see if anything can be done to make the job of a crossing guard safer.
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