LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A school security guard with the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) died after being fatally hit by a vehicle while directing traffic on the first day of school.
Victor Montgomery was directing traffic on Highway 10/Cantrell Road between Robinson High School and Robinson Elementary during drop-off time when a vehicle traveling westbound struck him and dragged him several yards before coming to a stop.
A PCSSD employee on the scene immediately called 911, and Officer Montgomery was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he later passed away.
“These PCSSD security personnel put their life on the line by standing in these roads to direct traffic and they may not have LRPD or Arkansas State Police written on their chest but they should still be taken just as seriously,” said Jessica Duff, communications director for PCSSD.
Duff confirmed that the driver was apprehended following the incident.
Arkansas State Police confirmed that the driver was not a parent or a school employee and that they stopped immediately after the incident. ASP also confirmed that the driver consented to testing and that no impairment was suspected.
As part of the investigation, the driver was detained and authorities have said that charges are currently pending.
“Officer Montgomery may be gone but he will not be forgotten,” said Dr. Jay Pickering, principal of Joe T. Robinson High School. “Paw Paw will forever be in our hearts and the halls of Robinson High.”
And as the school community grieves, some are asking what else can be done to avoid accidents like this from happening again.
Superintendent Charles McNulty says he wants drivers to slow down in the school zone, and he thinks more signage would help do that.
“We would really utilize a light that we could control traffic with. I think that’s the key, just flashing lights is not what we need,” McNulty said.
The district says, their request for a crosswalk years ago never happened, blaming some of the confusion on where the schools are located.
“The issue is that Robinson Elementary is in the county. And Robinson High School, Middle School is in the city. And this is a state road,” McNulty explained.
Most requests for change around state roads go through the Arkansas Department of Transportation, (ARDOT).
“We look at it to see if it’s going to create any other problems like a blind spot, or is the sign big enough or small enough? Or does it fit state requirements?,” ARDOT Spokesperson Dave Parker said.
Years ago, Parker says ARDOT approved a flashing light in the area, but there’s still some confusion between the county and state on which would need to approve a traffic light.
Right now, Parker says everything is up to code, explaining, “Based on all the state law requirements, it had everything in place to warn drivers that they were approaching a school zone.”
Now ARDOT and the school are asking drivers to pay close attention to those signs to not only follow the law but also keep people safe
“I think we’re still going to look at working with the state, the city, and the county to get a traffic light in place… We all have to be neighbors and take care of each other,” McNulty said.
PCSSD released the following statement regarding the incident:
“PCSSD is very upset and saddened that this accident happened. It is imperative for motorists to slow down in school zones. There are three schools within walking distance of each other in this area of Highway 10/Cantrell Road. There is absolutely no reason for any motorist to drive above the speed limit in this area any time of day, much less during school drop off and pick up time. This could have been avoided if motorists were more attentive and aware of their surroundings while driving in school zones.
Officer Montgomery has been with PCSSD for seven years, all spent in the Robinson area serving Robinson High School and assisting with traffic at the elementary school. We’re all neighbors out in the Robinson community. This could have been prevented with mindful driving and paying more attention in our school zones.”
This investigation is currently ongoing. We will continue providing updates as more information becomes available.