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Teachers say Mountain View Avenue 'crosser man' was patient

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

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ENSURING that every student crosses the road safely on Mountain View Avenue in Kingston was Phillip Mitchell's duty, that is, until Monday of this week when he was killed.

The 78-year-old traffic warden was mowed down a stone's throw away from his home in Nannyville Gardens, Kingston.

The police's Corporate Communications Unit reported that at approximately 1:45 pm, the driver of a motor truck was travelling southward along Mountain View Avenue towards Windward Road, in the vicinity of the pedestrian crossing, when the traffic came to a halt.

Mitchell was reportedly standing on the median, observing the pedestrians, when the driver of the motor truck allegedly lost control of the vehicle and hit Mitchell, the police said. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer visited Excelsior High School and spoke with some of the staff, they described Mitchell as a very cautious and patient individual.

“He was very pleasant. He became my friend by just saying good morning to him every morning when he was crossing the students,” Nicola Brown-Reynolds told the Observer as she fought to hold back tears.

Brown-Reynolds said whenever she had time to spare, they would discuss their family life and she said she would even share her fruits with him.

“He would tell me about his son and I would tell him about my daughters. Once I see him in the mornings... if I have time I would normally stop and say, 'Hi. How are you doing?', and we would exchange words,” Brown-Reynolds continued.

“If he's sick, and he says he has the sinus, I would stop just to hear about what his complaint was. I would advise him what to take for the sinus,” Brown-Reynolds said as tears ran down her face.

Brown-Reynolds, who was teaching a fourth-form class when she was informed of the incident, said at first she thought two motor vehicles had collided.

“When they said the 'crosser man', I stopped and said, 'As in my crosser man?', and they said, 'Yes'. So I went out and that was when I saw him on the ground,” the teacher recounted.

Grade seven Supervisor Pansy Bromfield, who has been employed at the institution for 27 years, told the Observer that she has seen traffic wardens come and go, but none of them served the community like Mitchell did.

“He was very patient. I was surprised when I heard that he was 78, he was very strong. He ensured that the students were safe,” Bromfield said.

On Monday, head of the Highway and Traffic Division Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen said the driver of the truck was taken into custody and will be charged for dangerous driving, and possibly manslaughter.

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