North Bergen police arrest alleged hit-and-run driver as concern grows over lack of crossing guards

Police say that 57-year-old Julio Seoane-Alamo left the scene after clipping the boy.

Naomi Yané

Oct 21, 2023, 12:18 AM

Updated 240 days ago

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North Bergen police arrested township resident Julio Seoane-Alamo on Friday in connection to a hit-and-run incident that left an 11-year-old boy injured. The arrest comes amid growing concerns in the community of a crossing guard shortage.
The incident happened within blocks of an elementary school in a residential neighborhood where there are many families with school-aged kids. Parents in the community say there used to be a crossing guard at the intersection of 76th Street and Hudson Avenue, but because of a staffing shortage that guard was moved to a busier intersection. Theresa Pesantes has lived in this community for 25 years.
"We have done multiple inquiries about getting a crossing guard replaced on this street but there hasn’t been any luck,” she says.
Public Safety and the Traffic Division do the hiring and training for crossing guards and the township allocates the funds. They say the interest in the job is down. They have 20-30 fewer crossing guards now than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We’ve done quite a bit in recruiting. We’re starting a new campaign now. We’re doing a lot of things without the crossing guards,” says Commissioner of Public Safety, Allen Pascual. “More lighting, pedestrian crossing, but it’s been a challenge.”
The department went from 82 to 58 crossing guards, leaving some 20 busy intersections possibly unmanned.
"With the traffic division, we’re prioritizing the hotspots and we’re moving crossing guards all over the place,” says Pascual.
The commissioner hopes to get a pay increase for crossing guards in the hopes of seeing a jump in applicants.
"Our issue is just getting people to come back to work. They didn’t come back once the students came back and we’re recruiting,” he says.
Seoane-Alamo faces multiple charges, including assault by auto and endangering the welfare of a child. The 11-year-old boy was not seriously injured.


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