Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Crossing Guards

Dump Truck Driver Kills School Crossing Guard in Queens

A right-turning dump truck driver struck and killed a school crossing guard at the corner of two of the city's deadliest roads on Friday morning, police said.

Wikimedia Commons|

A crossing guard has died in Queens.

A dump truck driver struck and killed a school crossing guard at the corner of two deadly roads on Friday morning, police said.

The 63-year-old woman was working the corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue in Queens at around 8 a.m. when the 39-year-old truck driver hit her as he turned onto Atlantic, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.

Krystyna NaprawaPhoto via Facebook

Police said the crossing guard, identified in media reports as Howard Beach resident Krystyna Naprawa, died at the scene. NYPD has not identified the driver, who remained on the scene and has not been charged. [Update: Cops charged the driver, identified as Hector Yepes, on Friday with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care, NYPD said in a statement on Saturday.]

Donald Nesbit, the executive vice president of the union that represents the guards, said Naprawa was hit after helping four or five students cross Atlantic Avenue, a massive street where unsafe driving is rampant.

Naprawa had worked as a guard since 2010, according to Nesbit.

"Her job was everything" to her, he said. "It was one of the most fondest things to her to serve the children."

He called on the NYPD to hire additional guards for dangerous intersections like the one where Naprawa lost her life.

"Corners like that, we need additional guards, not less," he said, noting the NYPD's plan to cut the number of guard posts citywide.

Drivers struck and injured 73 school crossing guards between 2012 and 2022, a Streetsblog investigation revealed last month, but city officials have been reluctant to take the issue seriously. Cops charged just one-third of drivers in those 73 cases — mostly with minor traffic violations.

Guards are perpetually mistreated — poorly paid, neglected by city higher-ups and constantly endangered by reckless drivers, Denise Ferrante, the crossing guards chair for the Local 372 union, said Friday.

“We go to work and some of us don’t come home,” she said. “It’s a serious problem, with the speeding cars, people not paying attention, texting — it’s a problem. Now somebody’s dead.”

A 2022 Streetsblog investigation found school streets in the city to be uniquely dangerous, with higher rates of car crashes and injuries than other city streets on school mornings and afternoons. 

The corner of Woodhaven and Atlantic — two busy, extra-wide roads — saw 12 car crashes through the first nine months of 2023, leading to seven injuries to motor vehicle occupants and one injured pedestrian, according to city data compiled by Crashmapper.

Ferrante, who has worked as a guard on Staten Island for more than a decade, criticized Mayor Adams for failing to take measures to protect guards like redesigning more streets near schools to make it harder to drive recklessly.

“The Adams administration, no way do they care about all of us,” she said. “They ignore it — it’s like no big deal to them.”

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Hochul Must Put Up or Shut Up on Congestion Pricing, New Senate Transportation Chair Says

Gov. Hochul must produce a "100-day plan" to replace the $16.5 billion MTA funding shortfall created by her decision to cancel congestion pricing.

July 24, 2024

DOT Begins Safety Upgrades for Atlantic Av. But Locals Want More

Some changes are coming for Atlantic, but they're not enough, say street safety advocates.

July 24, 2024

MTA Contractor Scrambles to Refund Fake Charges After OMNY ‘Upgrade’ Goes Awry

Cubic is working to issue refunds to riders improperly charged thanks to the glitch, a spokesman said.

July 24, 2024

Podcast: GOP’s ‘Project 2025’ is ‘Based on a Lot of Ignorance’

What does Transportation for America's Beth Osborne think of the transportation portion of the Heritage Foundation's playbook for a Trump presidency?

July 24, 2024

Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’ Will Cost Area Companies Billions

A new analysis shows what districts will suffer the most from the loss of $12 billion in capital funding.

July 24, 2024
See all posts