Crossing guard run down by illegal driver

Published 4:21 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A driver with a suspended license struck a crossing guard in front of the Pearl River Central High School Monday morning while apparently speeding in the middle lane.

“She was out directing traffic when she got hit,” said Nina Guthrie of the Pearl River Central School system. “We’d like for everyone to be in prayer for her and we request that everyone drive slowly when coming to our school.”

Sgt. Joe Gazzo with the Mississippi Highway Patrol said the accident occurred at about 7:27 a.m. on U.S. 11 in front of the school. The driver, identified as Michael F. Zamsky, 45, was driving a Ford Explorer southbound on the busy road when he struck Cynthia Higden, 28, who was directing traffic in the center lane. Gazzo said Higden suffered broken bones and was taken to the hospital and listed in critical condition. Zamsky was taken to the Pearl River County Justice Center in Millard.

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Pearl River County Superintendent Dennis Penton said Zamsky was speeding in the center lane when he applied brakes, struck Higden and then slid into the ditch. After the incident took place, Penton said that Zamsky admitted he did not have a driver’s license and claimed he was not driving at the time of the incident. Penton said there were no other passengers in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

“He claimed to be legally blind,” Penton said. “It defies logic.”

Currently Higden is in stable condition after being taken to Forrest General Hospital immediately after the accident, Penton said. The superintendent said a witness at the scene said that Zamsky did not apply brakes until he was almost to Higden.

“I would hope that they would press criminal charges,” Penton said. “I certainly hope that justice is done.”

Zamsky was charged with driving with a suspended license, failure to maintain control of a vehicle and reckless driving, according to Pearl River County Sheriff’s office reports.