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'She has a long way to go': LMPD traffic guard loses part of her leg after being struck by vehicle in hit-and-run

Gertrude Schaftlein has been with LMPD for 48 years.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Louisville Metro Police Traffic Guard is in the hospital with serious injuries after an apparent hit-and-run in the St. Denis neighborhood early Wednesday morning.

Police said Gertrude Schaftlein was assigned to the intersection of Cane Run Road and Bridwell Drive. Around 9:30 a.m., LMPD said Third Division officers responded to a report of a pedestrian struck by a vehicle at the intersection.

On the scene, witnesses told LMPD Schaftlein was struck by a vehicle and the driver kept driving. 

She was alert and conscious when police arrived. Other drivers had stopped to help her until other officers and EMS could arrive. 

Schaftlein was taken to UofL Hospital with serious injuries.

LMPD posted on their Facebook saying that she's in extensive PT daily, but "she has a long way to go."

"As you can see, she suffered a life-changing injuries and she's working on adjusting to her new normal," LMPD said. 

Officers said this month she celebrated 48 years of "faithful service to our community, protecting our children as a traffic guard to numerous schools."

Schaftlein was born and raised in Germany and moved to Louisville decades ago. 

Authorities confirmed she was directing traffic for Wellington Elementary School.

Some parents told WHAS11 that Schaftlein is a nice lady.

"She always waves, I mean, she throws her hand up and she does continue to do her job," JCPS parent Tanneshia Guy said.

"She's nice as can be, and a good wave every morning, you know, brings a smile to your face," JCPS parent Christina Mcnertney said.

An LMPD spokesperson said information regarding the suspected hit-and-run vehicle was collected and shortly after, an officer stopped a vehicle matching the description on I-64 east near the 22-mile marker.

The driver, 44-year-old Delane Rowe, was charged with felony leaving the scene, felony first-degree assault, disregarding traffic control and disregarding signals from officers directing traffic.

LMPD's Traffic Unit is handling the investigation.

"We appreciate the witnesses who called to provide information on this incident," the spokesperson said.

Many parents and students felt empty without their traffic guard, and many were worried about safety and traffic.

"She pushes that button and she helps everybody go across and now today it's insane," Mcnertney said. 

At a news conference on the first day of school,  JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio talked about the ongoing shortage of crossing guards supplied by LMPD.

"I know it's a major issue, it's caused some traffic problems, we'll work with the city to do as much as we can but there is very little that we can do about that," he said.

 Mcnertney said the guard knew how to keep the flow of traffic going. Now she and Tanneisha Guy are hoping for a speedy recovery.

"I'm happy they were able to catch him but I'm hoping that she can get well soon and recover and get back out here," Guy said.  

There has been a fundraiser set up for Schaftlein. If you would like to donate, please click here

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