A crossing guard who was not at her post when a 6-year-old boy was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer one block from his East Harlem school never showed up for work that morning and has been suspended, officials tell NBC 4 New York.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the 55-year-old guard, who has worked at the same intersection for 10 years, is suspended without pay while the tragic death is investigated.
A law enforcement official tells NBC 4 New York that the guard called in to report for work, as she is supposed to do, but did not show up.
She arrived to her assigned intersection at 117th Street and First Avenue after the accident Thursday morning and claimed she had taken a quick break, but her story has since changed, the official says. She told investigators she was not at work because she had an emergency that morning.
Kelly said the guard has had no other issues in her 10 years on the job. School crossing guards are civilian employees of the NYPD.
The boy's father, Sidiki Diarrosova, did not want to speak on camera but said he does not blame the crossing guard for his son's death. He said the well-liked crossing guard loved his son, and wants to focus on helping his family heal.
Parents walking their children to school Friday found it difficult not seeing the crossing guard's familiar face on the corner and instead seeing a memorial for Amar.
"It's shocking," said father Fernando Bonilla, who has known the crossing guard for years and was stunned by Kelly's revelations that she did not show up Thursday morning.
"She's a wonderful lady," said Bonilla. "Awesome mother, so I know she must feel very sad."
The boy, Amar Diarrosova, was walking with his 9-year-old brother and was crossing First Avenue just before 8 a.m. when the tractor-trailer turned right onto the avenue from 117th Street. The older boy was not struck.
The children were one block from PS 155 and were in the crosswalk, police said. A witness has told investigators that Diarrosova darted out into the street moments before he was hit.
The driver was cited for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care, police said.
The boy's distraught parents did not speak to reporters as they returned to their apartment except to answer a question about how the 9-year-old brother was doing after the accident.
"He's OK, thank you," the boy's father said.
Family friend Maya Toure called Amar a "sweet boy," telling NBC 4 New York the boy loved school and "he prayed a lot."