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Man's work with children ends in crosswalk

November 25, 2000

Lolita Harper

NORTH HOLLYWOOD -- "They said they would only put him at that

intersection one more time," said William Hooper's fiancee, Carol

Armstrong.

Unfortunately, one more time turned into the final time.

Hooper, 60, of Tujunga, died Tuesday when he was hit by a teenage

motorist while working as a crossing guard outside of Lankershim

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Elementary School on the corner of Magnolia Boulevard and Bakman Street.

Hooper, a 25-year employee of the Burbank Department of Water and

Power, retired early from engineering in 1997 after suffering an aneurysm

that almost killed him, longtime friend Ed Scroggins said. Hooper decided

he was going to live life the way he wanted and start working with

children, Scroggins said.

Hooper's love for children was evident through his work with the Civil

Air Patrol, where he was a commander in the cadet program, serving youths

ages 13 to 18.

But Hooper thought being a crossing guard would be a good way to

interact with children every day, friend Rick Davis said.

Hooper loved the job he got a little more than a year ago through Los

Angeles City's Bureau of Parking Enforcement. But he hated the corner of

Magnolia and Bakman.

Armstrong, 43, said Hooper would get angry about the way people drove

on that busy street and couldn't understand why they wouldn't slow down.

"He was so afraid of that corner. He said he was going to Mass the

night before [his last shift], to pray for his safety," Armstrong said.

"I think he knew he was going to die."

Parents, teachers and crossing guards familiar with the intersection

thought it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt there.

"This is a blind corner. You can't see anything," said Lela Nowak, a

crossing guard who also works the corner outside of Lankershim Elementary

School.

Nowak, a longtime friend of Hooper's, said she never stands on the

southeast corner -- where Hooper was hit -- because it is too close to

the street.

After hearing the tragic news, Nowak was one of many people calling

for a solution to the deadly traffic problem. Among the flowers and cards

remembering Hooper were signs asking for a stoplight and for people to

slow down. Armstrong also planned to join the fight for a light.

"He thought the job he did was so unimportant," Armstrong said. "It is

incredible to see so many people out to support him."

Los Angeles police said the 17-year-old motorist who hit Hooper was at

fault. But at press time it had not been decided if the youth -- who

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