CORNELIUS, N.C. - Doctors are treating an 82-year-old crossing guard after a car hit him on Thursday outside an elementary school in Cornelius.
A car traveling east on Catawba Avenue drove through the crosswalk and hit Robert Jarosz, who was standing in the road, holding a stop sign and wearing a bright green reflective vest, witnesses told police.
The front bumper and front end of the car hit Jarosz. Police said Larry Matthews, 78, hit Jarosz around the time students were being dismissed from Cornelius Elementary School Thursday afternoon.
Jarosz suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center, according to paramedics.
Police said witnesses stopped Matthews at the scene after he hit Jarosz. During the investigation, police found that Matthews, who lives in Cornelius, was driving at or near the speed limit of 20 mph when he hit Jarosz. Police said it appears that Matthews didn't see Jarosz or know that he had struck him.
Matthews was issued citations for failure to reduce speed to avoid colliding with a pedestrian and for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Jarosz has worked as a part-time civilian employee for the Cornelius Police Department since May 2011. He is planning to retire as crossing guard at the end of June.
Cornelius police personnel will act as school crossing guards until Jarosz returns.
Channel 9 learned through social media that Jarosz is well liked in the community. One viewer said on Twitter that "(Jarosz) truly protects the kids and parents who cross the street like his own."
Cornelius police posted a statement on their Facebook page Friday afternoon:
"Thank you everyone for the kind words and prayers for Mr. Jarosz, the Cornelius Elementary Crossing Guard. We have been informed that Mr. Jarosz will remain at CMC Main through the weekend so medical staff can continue to monitor the injuries he sustained in the accident. We are very grateful for the support in our community and will be accepting any cards or notes that anyone would like to send Mr. Jarosz."
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