Community holds vigil for beloved crossing guard struck and killed by dump truck in Queens

Lucy Yang Image
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Outpouring of grief at vigil for beloved crossing guard
Lucy Yang reports at a vigil in Queens for a crossing guard struck and killed on Friday.

WOODHAVEN, Queens (WABC) -- There was an outpouring of love and grief in Queens for a beloved crossing guard who was struck and killed by a dump truck on Friday morning.

Barbara Naprawa lost her mother and her angel, 63-year-old Krystyna Naprawa.

"She was a beautiful person. I just miss her so much," Naprawa's daughter said.

There were many broken hearts among members of the community in Woodhaven Queens on Monday, days after losing their much beloved crossing guard.

"She was always asking how I was doing," youth leader Daniel Hill said. "You could tell how much she valued the safety of the children."

"She was very sweet to me," 11-year-old April Aparicio said. "When I came back, I saw nothing. She wasn't there anymore. Broke my heart."

Naprawa was busy shuttling the children across a hectic intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue around 8 a.m. on Friday.

Eyewitness News was told the driver of a dump truck was trying to make a right turn onto Woodhaven, waited for the children to cross, but before the guard got back to the sidewalk, police say he went forward and hit the guard, killing her.

He stayed at the scene and was later charged with failure to yield and use due care.

Meanwhile, flowers and candles were left at the scene Monday night, along with a moment of silence

One mother said that for 10 years Naprawa kept her two children safe and watched them grow.

"She always said good morning, have a nice day," mother Fanny Huete said. "We go 'ok. Have a nice day. Thanks.'"

Mayor Eric Adams offered his deepest condolences.

"It is an admirable and difficult job," he said. "They do it well. Krystyna was representative of those who serve our city."

New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo said 2022 was the most dangerous year for crossing guards, ever. He said that one in every 230 crossing guards got involved in a vehicle accident.

"Every time you hear a whistle, remember to look, stop and obey the crossing guard because they're there for your safety," said crossing guard coordinator Michelle Dunston said.

For 13 years, Naprawa was a friendly face on a dangerous intersection.

Her last act alive was making sure the children crossed safely, even if she did not.


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