Arrest made after metro Atlanta school crossing guard hurt in hit-and-run, police say

“An incident such as this is pretty shocking to our community."
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 5:39 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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DECATUR, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A man has been arrested after hitting a crossing guard with a car in Decatur, according to police.

Decatur Police said Jeffery Smith was hit around 8:20 a.m. on Monday at the intersection of East College Avenue and South Candler Street.

“When our officers arrived, we noticed that one of our crossing guards Mr. Jeffrey Smith had been struck by a vehicle. The driver of that vehicle then fled the scene,” police said.

The 69-year-old Smith, who police said is “extremely dedicated to keeping our kids safe,” is recovering at home after being released from the hospital.

“Mr. Smith was acting as he does every morning as a crossing guard for our city. He was crossing a Decatur High School student,” according to Decatur Police Sgt. John Bender. “The student did an excellent job of getting a description of a red Chevrolet Cruz that struck Mr. Smith and also provided a tag,” he said.

Alrahman Heath, 38, was arrested and charged with hit and run and failure to yield to a pedestrian, according to Decatur Police Sgt. John Bender.

On Tuesday afternoon, police found Heath’s car along West Howard Avenue, not far from the scene.

“An incident such as this is pretty shocking to our community,” Bender said. “We have a huge and robust crossing guard program,” he said. “We have lots and lots of kids who walk to school every day. “All 42 of these crossing guards are at major intersections helping our kids across the street. So, for an incident like this to happen, it really strikes close to home for us especially with all these people being employees of the police department.”

Bender said this case is being felt by many.

“It’s a tight knit community. We have a huge walking population. We do everything we can to keep these kids safe. 42 crossing guards is massive, and these people come out every single day to do a thankless job and stop traffic to get our children across the street,” Bender said.

Bender sent an important reminder to all drivers.

“If you’re ever involved in an accident, stop and render aid to the person. Help them. Call the police. Number two slow down and number three please stop driving distracted,” Bender said.