Winter Garden crossing guard in stable condition after being pinned under car, sheriff says

Gislaine Booker is a Orange County Sheriff’s Office crossing guard

WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – Winter Garden police identified the Orange County Sheriff’s Office crossing guard who was critically injured Wednesday after she was pinned under a vehicle involved in a crash.

Gislaine Booker, who is a Sheriff’s Office employee, was helping students from Tildenville Elementary and Lakeview Middle Schools around 3:29 p.m. when three vehicles were involved in a crash at Avalon Road at West Colonial Drive.

One of the vehicles involved in the crash-landed on top of Booker and witnesses helped push the car off of her, Capt. Scott Allen, with the Winter Garden Police Department, said.

Allen said the vehicles were stopped for a red light when a rear-end collision caused a pile-up.

Booker was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Two others were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The morning after the crash, police said Booker is in critical but stable condition. Orange County Sheriff John Mina said Booker suffered several broken bones and will need to have surgery.

Police said the investigation into the crash and determining if anyone will face charges could take several weeks.

Mina spoke to reporters Thursday about the dangers crossing guards face and pleaded with drivers to be more cautious. He said Booker was the second crossing guard to be hit by a vehicle this week alone.

“The job of our school crossing guards is extremely important they literally save lives by being out there,” Mina said.

Mina said most crashes are caused by speed and distracted drivers. He asked that drivers be more careful on the road during school start and dismissal times by knowing children and the crossing guards will be out.

“It’s important now more than ever that our crossing guards are out there protecting our children," Mina said.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office crossing guards are paid about $13.50 an hour, according to a recent job posting.

“Many school crossing guards do it for the kids,” Mina said. “They’re not going to get rich (doing it).”

The sheriff said he is currently reviewing a proposal that would increase pay for crossing guards to attract more applicants. The Sheriff’s Office is also considering higher an outside company to increase the number of crossing guards at intersections next year.