MARTINEZ (CBS SF) – The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office on Friday confirmed it has filed misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges against the driver in the accidental death of Stanley Middle School crossing guard Ashley Steven Dias.
On September 8th, 2021, Phyllis Meehan was picking her grandson up from the Lafayette middle school when she collided with a vehicle and proceeded to accelerate into a crosswalk, striking Dias and a student.
"This tragic incident has impacted an entire community," said District Attorney Diana Becton. "The loss of Ashley Diaz is a solemn reminder that drivers must exercise caution and care when children and pedestrians are present."
Witnesses observed the 45-year-old Dias push a student out of the path of the GMC Yukon before being fatally struck by the driver Meehan. The student suffered significant scrapes and bruises. Dias succumbed to his injuries later that afternoon.
Dias was filling in for another crossing guard that fateful Wednesday afternoon. He was hailed as a hero for saving the young girl who he pushed out of the way.
"I met one of the fathers in the hospital and he said, 'Your son saved my daughter's life.' He says he stopped but he walked in front to stop the car and the car just knocked him over and dragged him underneath," his mother Gloria Dias told KPIX a day after the fatal accident.
Lafayette Mayor Susan Candell issued a statement of condolences the day after the accident, noting in it that Dias had grown up in her city.
"On behalf of the City of Lafayette, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Mr. Dias's family. What happened is a true tragedy in every way. We will need to mourn and heal together as a community, and support all of the families who were involved," the statement read in part.
Meehan stopped and cooperated with police. Her arraignment date has yet to be scheduled.
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