INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A beloved crossing guard returned Thursday to Washington Township schools after a devastating accident and painful recovery.
Tony Taylor, 63, was struck by a car March 8 outside North Central High School while directing morning traffic.
He suffered head and leg lacerations, compound ankle fractures, a concussion, pelvic damage and other injuries.
Taylor “couldn’t move from the waist down” but was determined to return to his post keeping schoolchildren safe, he said.
Nearly five months later, Washington Township parents, students and staff cheered his return on the first day of the new school year.
“He makes us a little happier to be here every day,” said Westlane Middle School Principal Bill Pitcock. “Everybody is just so happy to see Tony [Taylor] back.”
Taylor facilitated morning drop-offs and afternoon pick-ups Thursday at North Central High, Willow Lake Elementary and Westlane Middle School.
He grew emotional as he described his “miraculous” recovery to News 8.
“I’m overjoyed [and] overwhelmed by all the support,” Taylor said. “I’m standing here today when I shouldn’t be. Those prayers made a difference.”
The day after waking up in the hospital in a state of shock, Taylor said he experienced “tingles” throughout his body.
“I’m thinking, ‘Why am I being hit by this energy? This is wild,’” he recalled. “It was the students and parents that were praying for me… I started healing then because of those prayers.”
A steady stream of hospital visitors (including Butler University’s four-legged mascot) and ICU-approved comfort food (Church’s fried chicken!) also helped, he said.
A GoFundMe account created by friends to cover Taylor’s medical expenses raised nearly $40,000. Well-wishers who commented on the page thanked him for his “infectious smile” and enthusiastic service at Washington Township schools.
“I feel blessed that I’m here [and] able to stand and talk, and do what I need to do,” Taylor said, straightening his yellow traffic vest and scanning the school parking lot for wrong-way drivers.
“He’ll blow his whistle at anyone… even me,” said Principal Pitcock. “But he always does his job with a smile.”