An 80-year-old veteran Chicago crossing guard who was struck by a car on the city’s North Side Monday remains in a coma while her family is told to prepare for the worst.
Janet Gould was helping pedestrians cross the street near Helen C. Peirce Elementary at Bryn Mawr Avenue and Clark Street shortly before 3 p.m. when she was struck by a Toyota sedan, her granddaughter and police said Tuesday. The driver was issued a citation and released while Gould was transported to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston in critical condition.
Marina Chestnut, Gould's granddaughter, called the accident an “injustice” in a phone interview with NBC 5.
“How is that possible?" she asked. "My 80-year-old grandmother is in a coma right now."
Chestnut said the driver told police the sun was in his eyes and he could not see Gould as she stepped into the roadway. Chestnut cast doubt on the driver’s explanation by insisting her grandmother, a crossing guard of 34 years, never left home without her reflective vest.
“There’s absolutely no way you cannot see her,” she said.
Chestnut said Gould suffered bleeding on the brain, a black eye, stitches in the back of her head and a swollen face from the accident. Doctors have told the family to prepare for the worst, she said.
“This is the matriarch of our family, and for us to be told to prepare for the worst—the fact that the guy just walked away with a ticket …” she said.
Police said the investigation is ongoing but there would be no further charges against the driver as of Tuesday evening.
Alicia Tate-Nadeau, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, released a statement about the accident Tuesday night.
"The Office of Emergency Management and Communications is deeply saddened by the tragic accident in which our employee, Janet Gould, was very seriously injured," the statement reads. "In her role as a crossing guard with the City of Chicago, Mrs. Gould has been dedicated to ensuring the safety of children walking to and from school every day for more than 30 years. We extend our heartfelt wishes for her recovery and our thoughts and prayers are with Janet, her husband, family and friends at this time."
A Facebook group for parents at the school asks for anyone who might have witnessed the accident to come forward with details.
Many of the commenters recalled Gould's friendly and loving nature toward the school children she served every day for decades.