Mr. Frank Booth

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Students and faculty at a middle school near Mooresville held a memorial Thursday morning for a school traffic guard who was struck and killed after classes ended on Wednesday.

Students brought flashlights to symbolize shining light into the world, something 59-year-old Frank Booth was known for, said Boen Nutting, principal of Mount Mourne Middle School.

"Frank was a big man with a big smile and a big heart," she said.

The N.C. Highway Patrol said Booth was hit just after 3 p.m. in front of the school on N.C. Highway 115. Booth was flown to an area hospital where he died.

Troopers said a 23-year-old woman didn't see Booth when she drove through the school zone. The district attorney is expected to decide Thursday whether to file charges.

No other injuries were reported, and Nutting said no parents or students were involved.

Booth had been a crossing guard for 2 1/2 years, after retiring from a long career in public works, Nutting said. He directed traffic at Coddle Creek Elementary, near the border with Mecklenburg County, then went to Mount Mourne, which has a later start and dismissal time.

There have been no accidents outside Mount Mourne, where Booth helped drivers turn safely out of the school lot onto a busy two-lane highway, said Iredell-Statesville spokeswoman Dawn Creason. She said Wednesday's accident highlights the importance of the work done by traffic guards.

"It's extremely difficult for parents to turn left and be safe," she said. "Without these guys it would be an extremely unsafe situation for our students."

Nutting said parents in the car line sometimes rolled their windows down to tell her what a good officer he was. Students were emailing her late into Wednesday night with ideas for the memorial.

"He was our friend," she said. "He was with us every day, two times a day."

Counselors are on hand Thursday to talk to students. Dismissal will be handled as usual, with the sheriff's office helping with traffic control, Nutting said. "I feel very confident about the safety of our dismissal," she said.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Nov. 15, 2012
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