Crossing guard in Monterey Park, California, killed today; he was in my dash cam dreams two weeks ago.


This caught my eye earlier as I skimmed the online news over my scintillating dinner of plain yogurt and an Omega-3 trail mix.


A crossing guard was standing at the corner of Garfield and Elmgate avenues in Monterey Park on Tuesday afternoon when a car lost control and struck him, according to police.

The crossing guard died from his injuries, according to Sgt. Paul Yniguez with the Monterey Park Police Department.

The crash happened at 3:42 p.m. directly in front of Fire Station 62, according to a tweet from the Monterey Park Fire Department.

The location of the crash was situated between two schools,  Monterey Park Christian School and Meher Montessori School (map).

The identity of the crossing guard was being withheld.

No information was released regarding the driver of the vehicle.



Now it did not catch my eye because I know the intersection and drive through it occasionally. Or because I went to the nearby intermediate (what we called them in the 70’s) public school where the crossing guard worked.


No, you see, this caught my attention because it’s been just over two weeks since my dash cam caught an amusing driving maneuver at the very same intersection while the same crossing guard watched on.


When you buy a dash cam, there is a tendency at the outset to show every little stupid incident and boring street nuance because the urge to do so when you have it on tape is a bit…overwhelming. In time, you accustom yourself to having such a ridiculous mobile toy and you realize that most of the crap you catch on video is not really that amazing or spellbinding. And this video, while curious, was hardly noteworthy. Until tonight when I learned that same crossing guard was killed today.


It happened two weeks ago at the intersection of Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Avenue in Monterey Park, California, on the morning of Monday, January 12. It was foggy as hell. The air was frigid and damp. Water seemed to linger and trickle everywhere. I sat at a red light along with a Camry on my left. We waited for the light to change while the doomed crossing guard manned his lonely cold post. Suddenly, and inexplicably, the Camry darted forward just before the light turned green, nearly colliding with a truck. It was an utterly lame move but not unheard of in the heavily-Chinese suburb east of Los Angeles.


The crossing guard looked on, probably with an amused expression in his eyes. You see crossing guards like this everywhere. Elderly men who find it fulfilling to earn a little spending money while helping children cross school-adjacent streets. They are seniors and thus exude maturity, security, and safety. Well, this crossing guard, who was 70 according to the news, was tucked on the right side of screen. He was bundled up and I thought of this video the instant I heard of his death. Just two weeks later.


He has not been identified, and watching the video now, which I only posted on Facebook back then due to the amusing Camry move, with the shrouding fog and the near accident, seems a little haunting and ominous, and a whole lot of sad.


Not a good intersection for crossing guards.


RIP, crossing guard guy :(


You shall live on sorta forever thanks to this rickety old blog of mine.





Update, with driver info, January 29:


Driver identified as 19-year-old Jin Yang


The 19-year-old man who was driving the car that struck and killed a school crossing guard Tuesday has a California driver’s license, California Highway Patrol officials said Thursday.

Spokeswoman Officer Doris Peniche said she didn’t know when the license was issued but said it is a valid one.

She said the CHP is still trying to determine if Jin Yang of Monterey Park was texting before the fatal collision Tuesday on Garfield Avenue and Elmgate Street. The crossing guard, 76-year-old Abel Castellanos, died at the scene.

Yang hasn’t been arrested or charged.

Peniche said the investigation could be completed in a week or two.

According to the CHP, Yang was driving a Ford Mustang southbound on Garfield Avenue at about 50 mph. A Toyota Celica northbound on Garfield Avenue was stopped on the left turn lane.

Peniche said Yang stepped on the brakes, steered to the right and lost control of the car.

The Mustang went onto the corner and struck Castellano who was sitting in a folding chair.

Peniche said Yang’s mother, Yin Hua Li, suffered moderate injuries in the crash and was taken to Garfield Medical Center. Li was released from the hospital that night, she said.

Yang or Li couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.



The crossing guard was identified as Abel Flores Castellanos, 76. The clip below alludes to police “cracking down” on reckless driving on this street. Duh. The street has intersections, parked cars, crosswalks, but people use it as a freeway.