Queens Crossing Guard Returns to Work 9 Months After Being Hit by a Car

Tags: Currents Accident, Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Schools, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

by Katie Vasquez

As kids head to Our Lady of Hope Catholic Academy, Liliana D’Onofrio, or Lilly, as they call her, is there to guide them.

“My day is always very bright if I can see her. She’s really very good,” said Evangeline Roca, a parent at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Academy.

D’Onofrio’s a staple in Middle Village where she lives and has worked as a crossing guard since 2008.

“I watch them grow up and then they come back and visit me when they’re in high school,” D’Onofrio said. “When they’re in college, they come back and say, ‘Lilly, remember me?’ I just love it, love it, love it.”

She’s missed most of this school year, as she spent nine months recovering after a serious accident.

“I missed her,” said Gianna Grecula, a student at Our Lady of Hope Academy, “because she was gone for a while.”

“I start to cry when I start to think about it because I’m grateful. I’m very, very grateful to be here,” said D’Onofrio.

Police say that on Sept. 26, D’Onofrio was helping students cross the street at dismissal time when 51-year-old Sinead Welsh hit D’Onofrio with her car.

Welsh was charged with reckless endangerment and DWI, police said.

D’Onofrio was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but she woke up with no memory of the accident.

“I didn’t remember that I was hit by the car until my husband explained it to me,” D’Onofrio said.

It was a relief to students and parents when she returned to work on June 10, especially to those who had witnessed the accident.

“We were like, very surprised that she’s back, especially from the freak incident that happened,” said Aidan Moylan, a student at Our Lady of Hope Academy.

“It has been very sad. She’s our welcoming morning every day, right?,” said Amanda Quintana, a parent at Our Lady of Hope Academy. “So we missed her very much. and we were praying for her to get well.”

Now the Our Lady of Hope parishioner wants to make up for lost time, and work through the summer.

“I just like the community. I love the people. Everybody’s friendly. I enjoy it,” D’Onofrio said. “I work with wonderful people and I love the kids. I just adore the children.”