In November 2017, Lindley Middle School's crossing guard was hit and killed when trying to escort children across the road. A driver, Lamonte Whitaker, aggressively drove in the center lane during heavy traffic in the designated school zone where the speed limit was 25 mph. Many witnesses told officers that Whitaker was driving in reckless disregard for the safety of others and speeding. Whitaker struck Edna Umeh while she was directing traffic, as children watched in dismay. Her body was flung into the air when he hit her.
Since the accident, Umeh's family has been extremely proactive in asking the public to help them demand change. Umeh was a beloved member of the community, and her family does not want her death to be in vain. One person that has taken notice is State Representative Erica Thomas. In response to Umeh's death, Thomas introduced House Bill 672, called “Edna's Law.” Thomas drives past the area where Umeh was killed every day and was aware that it was unsafe.
The bill relates to the use of speed detection and traffic control monitoring devices to provide for their use by law enforcement officers who patrol the areas around elementary or secondary schools. Thomas' motivation behind the bill is to make sure no more families are hurt by drivers speeding through school zones. In an interview with WSB-TV Thomas stated, “These kids need to worry about going to school, not about their grandmother dying or their sister dying or getting ran over.”
Ultimately, Thomas wants a crosswalk and a traffic light in the area where Umeh was killed. Hopefully, Edna's law will pass and will be implemented in school zones across the state. It is heartbreaking that Umeh was killed and her death should serve as a catalyst in making sure school zones are protected, so this will not happen again.
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