Lafayette, CA – A volunteer school crossing guard gave his life to protect a young child from an oncoming SUV on Tuesday.
Ashley Dias, 45, was a former Stanley Middle School student who went on to work in the information technology field in San Francisco, his parents, Fabio and Gloria Dias, told KABC.
When he came home to visit his parents, he often volunteered as a crossing guard at his old junior high, they said.
Ashley Dias was helping students cross the street safely on Tuesday when an SUV crashed into him and a young child at approximately 3 p.m., according to police.
Gloria Dias said her son rushed over to a group of students in the street just before the collision, the Daily Beast reported.
One parent noted the kids “were barely able to get out of the way” and that Ashley Dias “pushed the student towards the sidewalk and just out of reach from the car” before the collision, according to the news outlet.
The volunteer crossing guard was able to protect the child by taking the brunt of the impact, and the student escaped with only minor injuries, KABC reported.
Stella Champion, a sixth-grader at Stanley Middle School, said she saw first responders rendering emergency aid to Ashley Dias outside the school.
He had been pulled underneath the SUV during the collision, the Daily Beast reported.
“He was getting pulled out by the paramedics and he was getting CPR,” Champion told KABC. “I think there was a kid injured, but the crossing guard saved the kid.”
“One person was reported to be trapped under a vehicle,” the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement to the Daily Beast. “Lafayette police officers, who were assisted by citizens, were able to pull an unresponsive person out from under the vehicle. Officers administered CPR until relieved by fire department personnel.”
Ashley Dias was rushed to John Muir Hospital, where he died of his injuries.
“The father of one of the kids came to me, a doctor at John Muir Hospital, and he said ‘if it wasn’t for your son, my daughter would be dead,'” Gloria Dias told KABC, breaking down into tears. “He died a hero, but he’ll never come back to us. He’s gone.”
Fabio Dias said he is devastated by his son’s tragic death.
“He was a great son,” he told KABC. “It is unbelievable. Just this morning we spoke to him. In the afternoon we spoke to him before he went at 2 o’clock for the crossing.”
Fabio Dias said his son was even wearing a bright orange safety vest to make himself more visible to motorists, according to the Daily Beast.
The woman behind the wheel of the SUV is the grandmother of a student who attends Stanley Middle School, KABC reported.
The woman’s grandchild was inside the vehicle when the crash occurred.
They were not injured in the collision.
“We are so incredibly sorry and devastated by this unthinkably horrible incident,” the woman’s son told KABC in a telephone interview.
Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.
It is unclear whether or not any charges will be filed.