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Kelly: Crossing Guard Not At Post When East Harlem Boy Struck By Tractor-Trailer

Flavia Roman Serving 30-Day Unpaid Suspension, Criminal Charges Possible
Amar Diarrassouba was struck and killed by a tractor trailer in East Harlem on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 (credit: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)

Amar Diarrassouba was struck and killed by a tractor trailer in East Harlem on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 (credit: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A school crossing guard reported for work Thursday morning but was not at her post when a 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while crossing the street, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Friday.

Crossing guard Flavia Roman, 55, checked in by phone at 7:30 a.m., telling her precinct youth officer that she was at the intersection of First Avenue and East 117th Street in East Harlem, Kelly said.

But Kelly said Roman was not there when 6-year-old Amar Diarrassouba was hit by a McLane Foodservice Distribution truck just before 8 a.m.

“At the very least, you should notify the command if you are not going to be on your post,” Kelly said.

Roman’s punishment is a 30-day unpaid suspension. While Roman currently is not facing any criminal charges, CBS 2 has learned they could come later, Dave Carlin reported.

Roman has been a crossing guard at that intersection for 10 years and has a clean disciplinary record, Kelly said.

Diarrassouba and his 9-year-old brother were in the First Avenue crosswalk when he was hit by the truck as it turned from East 117th Street, police said. The two were on their way to P.S. 155, police said.

Roman told 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer she had left to take a five-minute bathroom break.

“I was in the personal,” she said. “I was in the bathroom.”

Crossing guards are allowed to take short breaks, but must report when they leave and return. Kelly said they are still investigating.

“We have yet to determine why the school crossing guard was not on post,” Kelly said.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the tractor-trailer said they have launched an internal investigation into the accident.

“Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers go out to Amar’s family, friends and schoolmates,” company spokesman Stefan Friedman said in a statement. “We have launched an internal investigation into this tragedy and are fully cooperating with the NYPD and all appropriate authorities.”

Chris Roberts, a passenger in the truck, said he and the driver thought the intersection was clear.

The truck driver was issued a ticket for failing to yield to a pedestrian and failing to use due care.

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