Following fatal Mid-Wilshire crash, city council calls for hiring of more crossing guards

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a report Wednesday calling for ways to expedite the hiring of more crossing guards, driven by a sense of urgency after a crash that killed a woman and critically injured her 6-year-old daughter near Hancock Park Elementary School on April 25.

The council instructed the city's Department of Transportation to work with the Los Angeles Unified School District and seek ways to reducing the time it takes to complete criminal background checks and obtain medical clearance.

"While the district continues to push for the expedited hiring of crossing guards, we also know that crossing guards alone won't solve the problem of pedestrian safety and therefore we are also in support of the amended motion language that also considers other measures that may enhance pedestrian safety," LAUSD representative Genesis Coronado told the council during public comment.

Council members instructed the city's Personnel Department to report back on the feasibility of utilizing initiatives such as the Targeted Local Hire and Bridge to Jobs programs to recruit and hire crossing guards. The council is also considering the feasibility of implementing a cash referral program.

Transportation staff will provide a progress report on their efforts to hire more crossing guards, and the department will provide the LAUSD with a list of prioritized school locations eligible for a crossing guard.

Lastly, the council instructed the transportation department to consider the use of flashing lights and cameras to enhance pedestrian safety around schools, increase law enforcement, look at best practices of other locations and jurisdictions, and install more speed humps around schools.

RELATED: Mother killed while walking child to school in Mid-Wilshire area identified

The Los Angeles Police Department said the fatal crash on April 25 "appears to be a tragic accident" that resulted from the driver experiencing a medical emergency.

Ghadah Abduljabbar

Ghadah Abduljabbar, 33, died at the scene of the crash near Ogden Drive and Colgate Avenue in the Mid-Wilshire area, the Los Angeles County coroner's office reported. The girl -- a first-grader at Hancock Park Elementary -- was hospitalized.

Abduljabbar and her daughter were walking in a crosswalk when they were struck by a southbound pickup that subsequently crashed into an apartment building.

Nick Melvoin, the LAUSD board member representing the Fourth District, addressed the council's Transportation Committee the day after the crash and urged the committee to enact measures to ensure public safety around schools.

"I have the privilege and heartbreak of representing the school and families of Hancock Park Elementary, where yesterday we saw the unthinkable traffic tragedy with ... a pickup truck striking a first-grader and her mother while they were crossing the street to school," Melvoin said.

"The conflict between a car-driven city and students making their way to school is tragically ongoing. I don't know if a crossing guard, a speed bump, a sign or traffic lights would have prevented this tragedy, but I do know that these measures can prevent future ones."