Every day, school days at least, Felix Boyd tries to keep an eye out — for the kids.
Boyd’s job as a transportation coordinator for the Early Independent School District means he’s usually working in the district bus barn. The way the traffic whizzes by on Highway 183, and with the Early Primary and Elementary schools right there, where 183 intersects with the very busy Early Boulevard, Boyd said it’s always a little bit in the back of his mind something could happen.
Friday, Boyd’s worst fear almost came true.
“I was about to go home for lunch, and I looked across the highway and I saw a little girl riding on a little bike,” he said. “She wasn’t big enough to be in school and she was awful close to the street. Then in just a second, she got off the little bike and started to come across the street — she wanted to come play on the playground.”
Almost as suddenly as Boyd realized the little girl was about to cross the street, he also realized a car was coming — fairly fast.
“I ran to the street, and I was hollering, ‘Stop, no, no, no,’” Boyd said. “She took one step back, and that car missed her, by inches I think. I know if she hadn’t stepped back, it would have hit her and killed her.”
Boyd said he’d made it as far as the median when the car passed, and the driver was looking at him. He didn’t think the driver ever saw the little girl.
“I imagine that driver was thinking, ‘You crazy thing. What are you doing running out in the street?’ I was scared though, really scared.”
The little girl, whom Boyd guessed was 4 at the oldest, wasn’t scared at all, he said.
“She really just wanted to play on the playground. She kept telling me she was going to go over there.”
For a minute after the car passed, Boyd stood almost frozen, he said. But Pat Cunningham, an EISD bus driver, crossed the street and went with him to get the little girl. They tried to take her home, but couldn’t figure out where she lived, then decided they would take her to the school and call the police.
Before that could happen, the little girl’s mother arrived.
“I told her that her daughter almost got run over,” Boyd said. “I was very shook. By the time I got home, I was crying, but that mother was pretty calm — like she didn’t know how close it was.”
Boyd started with the EISD transportation department Feb. 1, 1999, and had worked at Higginbotham’s prior to that.
“I know everybody, just about, in Early knows that it is dangerous for the school to be that close to that busy traffic,” Boyd said. “Maybe if people know how quick something like that can happen — it might make somebody think when they’re driving there. Go a little slower and be a little more careful.”