School crossing guard hit, killed in front of students in Cobb; driver ID’d

A well-known crossing guard was hit and killed Thursday morning while directing traffic outside a Cobb County middle school, police said.

Edna Umeh, 64, of Austell, was the victim, Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce said in a news release.

A 38-year-old man from Lithonia, Lamonte Roosevelt Whitaker, was identified as the driver of the car that hit Umeh, according to Pierce.

The deadly incident occurred about 9 a.m. at Lindley Middle School on Veterans Memorial Highway in Mableton, police said.

Cobb County Police PIO Dana Pierce fatal accident involving a crossing guard at Lindley Middle School in Cobb County. Video by John Spink/AJC

Whitaker’s 2016 Ford Focus “swerved left into the center turn lane and around slowing or stopped traffic to continue westbound on Veterans Memorial Highway,” Pierce said.

“Within moments of doing so, he struck a school crossing guard who was working her post at the west end of the school zone.”

Umeh was dead on the scene, police said. Whitaker was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

Students arriving at school saw the accident and its aftermath, school district spokesman John Stafford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email.

Crossing guard Edna Umeh was hit and killed early Thursday as she directed traffic. (Credit: Channel 2 Action News)

icon to expand image

Umeh was “well known” to students and school staff, Pierce said.

“He swerves into the center lane,” witness Sakinah Anderson said. “The lady’s like, ‘Stop! Stop!’ Once she noticed that he wasn’t stopping, she tried to turn around a little bit and he hit her. She was flipping up to the power lines and hit the ground.”

Fire crews that responded to the accident had to cut off the top of the car to free Whitaker.

Cobb County fire crews that responded to the accident had to cut off the top of the car to free the driver. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

icon to expand image

Whitaker’s car had an Uber sticker on a window, Pierce said. Police do not know if he was driving for the ride-sharing service at the time of the accident.

Uber issued a statement about the incident to Channel 2 Action News.

“This is a horrible tragedy and deeply upsetting,” Uber official Jodi Page said. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family and the Lindley Middle School community during this difficult time.”

Another crossing guard who was on duty in front of the school was not injured, according to police.

“Counselors from the school, neighboring schools and the District’s Prevention/Intervention team are on site to assist students and staff,” Stafford said.

District administrators and officials from nearby schools were at Lindley to help with operations, according to Stafford.

Counselors were at Lindley Middle School in Mableton after students and others witnessed a car hit and kill a well-known crossing guard. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

icon to expand image

In other news:

The Atlanta mayoral candidate insists she has nothing to hide.