Virginia Carol Leviner worked as a crossing guard on the same corner for 28 years, and on Friday morning it was at that intersection where the 67-year-old, known affectionately as “Miss Carol,” met her fate.
Leviner was working at the corner of South Franklin and Grove Streets in Hempstead, New York, when a tractor trailer came down without slowing and apparently not seeing children walking across the street. As the truck approached, Leviner ran into the road and pushed a child or children out of the way, CBS New York reported.
The children reportedly didn’t see the truck coming, but Levine’s family said she was able to jump into the road in time to push them out of the way while waving her stop sign. The truck then struck Virginia Carol Levine, pinning her beneath the back tires and killing her.
There was confusion in the wake of the accident, witnesses said, and some didn’t realize at first that the crossing guard had been struck.
“When I saw her, I thought it was a little boy, because she looked like she was little,” witness Theresa Williams told ABC 7. “Then I saw who she was, and I said, ‘No, no, no, that’s the crossing guard, that’s the crossing guard.'”
Witnesses said Virginia Leviner saved several children from the runaway truck, though others say they believe she only pushed one out of the way.
The driver of the truck remained on the scene after Leviner was killed and tried to help the woman pinned underneath the truck, PIX 11 reported. The 23-year-old driver was later taken to a hospital in shock.
Police have not yet made any arrests, and some reports note that it may be unlikely.
“Just a tragic accident. The truck checked out OK. It’s just a horrible, horrible misfortune,” a maintenance worker at the trucking company said (via CBS New York).
But some family members said they hope police continue to investigate and bring charges if they are warranted.
“It cannot bring my mother back, but we want justice served in the proper way, and we still celebrate her life,” Leviner’s daughter Karen told CBS New York.
The death of Virginia Carol Leviner rocked the community, with many people paying tribute to her. Some local residents said they had Miss Carol as a crossing guard when they were children, and now that they are grown, she was the crossing guard for their own children.
“People have their own kids, she crossed their kids,” family member Karen Leviner said. “So everyone knew and loved my mother… She will be missed and loved by everyone.”
Leviner was known for her love of the children she helped each day and her dedication to the job. Family members said she battled cancer five years ago, but didn’t let that slow her down and vowed to remain in her job.
“You know there were days when I would tell her ‘listen, maybe you should sit this one out, call for a replacement,’ but [she’d say] ‘no, no, no my kids, I’ve got to go,'” said her husband, Tallie, who was married to Virginia for 50 years.
The story of Leviner’s death grew into something much more than a local story. Her final act of courage touched a nerve nationwide, with large news outlets picking up on the story and even some international ones.
Many people also shared her story online, leaving condolences to Leviner’s family on social media and praising her final courageous act.
Police are still investigating the death of Virginia Carol Leviner and said they are looking for potential video of the scene and for witnesses to the crash. The name of the truck driver who fatally struck the crossing guard has not been released.
[Featured Image by Dasha Rosato/Shutterstock]