LAFAYETTE, California -- Dismissal at a middle school in Lafayette, California took a tragic turn Tuesday when an SUV hit a volunteer crossing guard and student in front of the school.
Police say the SUV hit the crossing guard and a child around 3 p.m. The child suffered minor injuries but the crossing guard was rushed to the hospital.
The crossing guard's family told our sister station ABC7 that he was killed as he saved children from an oncoming car.
"He was getting pulled out by the paramedics and he was getting CPR," said 6th grader, Stella Champion. "I think there was a kid injured, but the crossing guard saved the kid."
The crossing guard, 45-year-old Ashley Dias, was volunteering at Stanley Middle School - the same middle school he attended while growing up in Lafayette.
"It is unbelievable, just this morning we spoke to him, in the afternoon we spoke to him before he went at 2 o'clock for the crossing," explained his father, Fabio Dias.
Fabio and Gloria Dias live nearby. They say Ashley lived in San Francisco and worked in IT, but when he visited them, he would often help out at the school, since they were short on guards.
"He was a great son," said Fabio, "It's devastating."
An unthinkable task for any parent, Fabio and Gloria went to identify their son's body.
"The father of one of the kids came to me, a doctor at John Muir Hospital, and he said 'if it wasn't for your son, my daughter would be dead,'" said Gloria, who continued through tears, "he died a hero, but he'll never come back to us, he's gone."
As for the driver of the SUV - she is the grandmother of a Stanley student who was in the car during the accident. ABC7 spoke to her son on the phone, who said both his mom and son are home and physically OK. He declined an interview but said, "we are so incredibly sorry and devastated by this unthinkably horrible accident."