As students and faculty at Mount Mourne Middle School grieved for a school traffic officer, investigators remained puzzled Thursday about why a driver hit him as he directed traffic Wednesday afternoon.
Frank Booth, 59, died after he was hit by a Toyota Corolla just after 3 p.m. He was helping parents get onto N.C. 115 near Mooresville after school let out.
The 23-year-old driver was obeying the 35 mph speed limit and does not appear to have been impaired, distracted or facing a glare that would have kept her from seeing Booth, said Trooper J.R. Fleming.
“It’s just really unexplainable right now as to why she didn’t see him,” Fleming said Thursday afternoon.
The district attorney’s office will decide whether to file charges.
Thursday morning, students brought flashlights to symbolize shining light into the world, something 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.
Booth had been a school traffic officer 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 Iredell-Mecklenburg border, then went to Mount Mourne, which has a later start and dismissal time.
There have been no previous accidents outside Mount Mourne, where Booth helped drivers turn out of the school lot onto a busy two-lane highway, said Iredell-Statesville spokeswoman Dawn Creason. She said Booth’s death 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. Counselors were on hand Thursday to talk to students.
“He was our friend,” Nutting said. “He was with us every day, two times a day.”
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