‘Crossing angel’ watches over youth on one of Windsor’s busiest streets | MyWindsorNow.com

‘Crossing angel’ watches over youth on one of Windsor’s busiest streets

Emily Wenger
ewenger@mywindsornow.com

Every morning, Susan Doughty wakes up and prays she and Windsor's youth will be safe.

Doughty was a nurse at Poudre Valley Hospital for 28 years, but suffered a back injury that would not allow her to return to work. In January 1999, she was offered a position as a crossing guard by former Windsor Police Chief John Michaels.

Doughty said she jumped at the chance. She started as a crossing guard at Mountain View Elementary and Tozer Primary School.

She now spends her days at the crossing between Windsor High School and McDonald's on Main Street.

“She helps us be safe. I think she cares for us more than we know.” Destiny Cardona,Windsor High School Sophomore

Nursing was a rewarding profession, Doughty said, but so is protecting Windsor's youth. Though she has had a couple close calls, Doughty said she has not had a major incident in her almost 19 years on the job.

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On Wednesday, she eyed Main Street while watching for semi-trailers and dump trucks, which she said cannot stop quickly. Once they passed, she pressed the light on the crossing signs and headed straight to the center of the road, her stop sign held high.

Doughty needed surgery on her shoulder and arm after holding her stop sign in some high winds. In 2007, she had rotator cuff surgery, and more recently her rotator cuff and a bicep tendon needed work.

The pain — which still bothers her sometimes, she said — just meant she had to adjust.

"I trained myself to be left-handed," she said.

Doughty is a known quantity among kids after so long on the job. Ella Nielsen, 6, misses seeing Doughty when she was a crossing guard at elementary schools around Windsor.

Liz Nielson, Ella's mother, stopped to talk to Doughty on Wednesday before the rush of high school students on their lunch break began. She said Doughty always has seemed determined to protect children from passing vehicles.

"She's like, 'Not happening on my watch,' " Nielsen said.

Though stopping vehicles is Doughty's first priority when helping students cross Main Street, she often pauses to chat with students after they reach the other side.

Destiny Cardona, a sophomore at WHS, said she enjoys seeing Doughty.

"She helps us be safe," Cardona said. "I think she cares for us more than we know."

Crossing guards are employed by Windsor police, according to Lt. Craig Dodd. He said the town has six crossing guards stationed near area schools, including two who cover mornings, lunch and afternoons at the high school.

Pedestrian and traffic safety are priorities for the department, Dodd said. When officers are not on other calls, they are expected to be in the area of school zones during mornings, lunch breaks and afternoons.

"So we can provide visible support," he said Thursday. "Also to enforce any traffic-safety issues."

At least two officers drove past Doughty on Wednesday waving and slowing down to see how the lunch hour was progressing at the stop. She waved to both, then turned her focus back to the road and led students across.

"Oh no you don't," Doughty called to a car that tried to pass while she was in the intersection.

At class meetings each year, Windsor High Principal Michelle Scallon said she encourages students to respect the crossing guards in the district and to thank them for their time. Many, like Doughty, enjoy talking to students as they pass, Scallon said.

"Thanks, Miss Susan," high school students called Wednesday morning as they crossed Main Street.

Scallon and others at the school once gave Doughty a coat that reads "Crossing angel."

"We're very, very thankful to have her," Scallon said.

When Doughty looks back over her years on the job, her favorite moments involve being thanked. The thanks of the children she protects — and of their parents — is all she needs, she said, to step onto the road another day, ready to stop vehicles that could hurt her students.

Crosswalk Safety

The Windsor Police Department released guidelines for drivers and pedestrians shortly before the start of the school year.

For drivers

» Look out for pedestrians at all times.

» Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk.

» In school zones, drivers are asked to pay attention, put down cell phones and slow down.

» The speed limit in a school zone is 20 mph when children are present, except for the 30 mph zone on Main Street.

» Fines are doubled in school zones during school hours.

Pedestrians

» Use dedicated crosswalks when crossing the street.

» Stay on sidewalks whenever possible.

» Allow vehicles adequate time to stop before crossing the street.

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