BRIDGEPORT – Working as a crossing guard might have seemed safe compared to Leonard Hunter’s time as a soldier in Vietnam.
Hunter grew up in Stamford as one of 11 siblings, and he and four brothers served in the Army during the war, while another was in the Air Force. All five returned home after their service.
On Wednesday, Hunter remained in critical condition a day after he and another crossing guard were struck by a car near Geraldine Johnson Elementary School.
City spokesman Av Harris said Hunter, 68, underwent surgery Tuesday and was scheduled for a second operation at St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Wednesday.
“Considering the severity of his injuries, he is lucky to have survived the crash,” Harris said.
Harris said Hunter suffered two broken legs and a brain bleed when a driver plowed into him and fellow crossing guard Idalyn Vargas, 50, as they stood on the sidewalk at the intersection of Park and North avenues at around 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Vargas suffered minor injuries and was she was released from St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Wednesday, Harris said.
The car that hit Hunter and Vargas was driven by Larissa B. Fountain, 47, who had just dropped her daughter off at school, Harris said.
“(She) said she blacked out prior to the crash,” Harris said Tuesday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Harris said, Fountain has not been charged.
“The investigation is ongoing,” he said. “No charges will be filed (until) the investigation is complete.”
After Hunter’s three years in the Army, he took a position with the U.S. Postal Service, working there for 37 years before retiring. Hunter is the current commander of the Darien Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Crossing guards near the school will have some backup to keep intersections safe through Friday, Harris said.
“Police officers (School Resource Officers) will be manning the intersection (Wednesday) and for the rest of the week,” he said.