A police officer’s job is to keep others safe, while potentially placing his or herself in danger. Desiderio de Castro did the same thing (while on not quite as dramatic of a scale), protecting schoolchildren of Salmon Bay School as they crossed his crosswalk on Northwest 65th Street in Ballard. A proud crossing guard for 12 years, de Castro took his job seriously, as his daughter was hit and injured in the same area when she was 14. On February 4th, de Castro, properly attired in an orange vest and armed with a flag, experienced her same fate. A car, driven by a woman who is believed to be in her 90s, came speeding toward de Castro, hitting him and sending him into the windshield of the Buick and eventually onto the street, where he laid unconscious. Fortunately, de Castro’s injuries were not critical, however he narrowly escaped a spinal cord injury that could have made not only his treasured job, but also most movement, impossible.
This frightening incident has sparked conversation in the Ballard community. De Castro, in addition to school authorities, believes that the crosswalk needs better signage, and possibly even speed cameras. These cameras would automatically track vehicles exceeding the school-zone speed limit of 20 mph, and send them a ticket for nearly $200 in the mail; a small price to pay for the safety of de Castro and his grateful young crosswalk users, don’t you think?