Ex-Washington Township crossing guard hit by car: Ordeal scarier than 'Nam
Edgar Jones earned a Bronze Star in Vietnam for saving nine members of his platoon trapped in the crossfire of two groups of enemy soldiers, but he testified on Monday that it wasn't nearly as frightening as the encounter he had with a motorist 42 years later in Fayette County.
Jones testified he was a crossing guard at Marion Elementary School in Washington Township when he saw a red Fiero speeding toward him after he had stopped traffic to allow a bus to exit the school grounds.
“He was really booking,” said Jones in the aggravated assault trial for the man police said was driving the car, Robert E. Welch, 34, of 160 First Ave., New Eagle.
Welch was traveling 45 mph through a 15 mph school zone on Perry Avenue at 8:34 a.m. Jan. 3, 2008, when he hit Jones, Washington Township police Officer Rich Taylor said in a criminal complaint.
Jones testified he was in the middle of the road, holding up a red stop sign when he saw the Fiero. He testified he moved to the right, into the Fiero's lane of travel, as he tried to get to the side of the road.
“I was going to try to stop the vehicle and let him know he was in a school zone,” Jones testified.
He can recall nothing after that until paramedics were loading him onto a medical helicopter to be flown to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Jones was treated for two fractured ribs and a dislocated left shoulder, and received 36 stitches in his forehead and 16 stitches in his left knee. He was hospitalized for three days and went to physical therapy for two months.
Jones testified he never went back to his job as a crossing guard, which he had held for two years.
“That threw more of a scare into me than Vietnam,” Jones told the jury. “At least in Vietnam, I could fight back.”
Outside the courtroom, Jones said he was an Army infantryman in Vietnam in 1966 when he and nine others in his unit were trapped in enemy crossfire from machine guns and rifles. A sergeant, he was put in charge of the group when two higher-ranking sergeants were killed.
He earned a Bronze Star for valor, he said, when he directed his men to split into two groups to sneak behind the enemy. The men fired phosphorous grenades into two “nests” of Viet Cong soldiers that killed 21 of them, he said.
Welch testified that his brakes were working the morning of the accident until he entered the school zone.
“I went to slow down, hit the brakes, and the brakes went all the way to the floor,” Welch testified. “It didn't even slow down.”
He testified he did not see Jones. Welch testified he went around the school bus, which was across both lanes of traffic, and assumed his car had struck the bus as he drove past.
The brakes began to work again after he left the school zone and pumped them several times, Welch testified. He said he stopped, then drove back to the scene to speak with police.
Taylor testified Welch told him the brakes had failed, but the car was not impounded or inspected. Welch testified he took the car home, bled the brakes and had no problems afterward.
“They had a lot of air in them,” Welch testified, noting that a few weeks before the accident, the brakes had been replaced. “After I bled them, it never went out again.”
Jurors are to begin deliberations on Tuesday morning before Judge Steve Leskinen.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man charged with threats against Fayette firefighters
- Connellsville police search for armed robber
- Connellsville cancer patient gets some ‘Satisfaction’ at Rolling Stones concert
- Hundreds to participate in Nicholson Memorial Bike Run to benefit cancer patients
- Connellsville Health Board discusses rundown properties
- Police seeking suspect in Fayette motel robbery
- 3 charged in Fayette County shooting
- FBI seized $1.5 million from 5 in Fayette County in connection with drug, illegal gambling probes
- Henry: Churches to conduct festival this weekend in Connellsville
- Former Fayette County Democratic chairman, county commissioner Lebder dies at 94
- Motorcyclist flees police through Uniontown at 120 mph