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Child struck by car in hit & run; bus continued route to school

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UPDATE:

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Late reports on Monday night from WFMY-TV News 2 and WXII-TV clarify some details of the incident in which a 7-year-old girl was struck by a car as she crossed the street to get on her school bus.

The child was hit by a car just before 8 a.m. as she was walking with her older sister across the street from the family’s house on Cherry Street near Germantown Road.

Reports said the car’s side mirror struck the child in the face.

The child boarded the bus, which finished its route to Gibson Elementary School 10 minutes away, reports said. The child’s father said that he spoke with a teacher who sent the girl to the school’s nurse after the child came to class.

The child, who is in the second grade, sustained minor injuries to her face and neck, according to police and school officials. The child’s father said the girl could not open her mouth, that her face was swollen and she was limping. Video from WXII Channel 12 showed cuts on the child’s face.

Police said their investigation into the circumstances of the incident is continuing.

(UPDATE Link: Arrest made)

PREVIOUSLY

Terrifying trend of school bus accidents continues

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – This morning (Monday) another child was struck down near a school bus. Police said her physical injuries are not severe.

The following information was collected from various late-breaking and sometimes conflicting reports. The investigation is still being pursued by the Winston-Salem Police Department in North Carolina.

The accident happened in the 4700 block of N. Cherry St., close to Gibson Elementary School, two reports said. ( Fox 8 ; News 2 )

Two reports said the 7-year-old girl was hit shortly before 8 a.m. One said that police responded to the school at 2020 Walker Road at about 10:30 a.m.

Image / Egerton Law

The child suffered “minor injuries to her face and neck area,” police said. She had been trying to cross the road to get onto the bus. The bus had its stop arm extended and its lights flashing, police said.

The driver of the car drove away from the scene. The description of the vehicle:

Honda

Model: Unknown (Possibly a 4-door Accord)

Color: Dark Green

Year: 1999-2002

Police do not yet have a description of the driver.

Any witnesses or persons with information about the driver or the vehicle should call Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.

(Author’s Note: Monday afternoon, while in a more optimistic frame of mind, I was about to file the following post. Then I read about the accident that took place Monday morning.)

Danger works a “busman’s holiday” in school-related accidents

The break was too short.

I don’t mean the Christmas holiday season, although of course, that is never long enough.

The break I’m speaking of is the break in the cycle of accidents that struck at school buses in our region last fall. The first crash I wrote about in a two part series came on Oct. 26 – coincidentally on the last day of “National School Bus Safety Week.” On Dec. 19 – the last day before school let out for Christmas – an 11-year-old boy was hit and killed by an SUV as he crossed the road near Kernersville, North Carolina, to get on his bus.

I hoped as I watched the events unfold that the relentless string of accidents the piled up between those two days was a fluke – that we would not see its like again.

But the next crash came even sooner than I could have imagined.

Guilford County Schools were scheduled to open again in 2013 on Thursday, Jan. 3. On Wednesday, a bus from The Kids Clubhouse daycare was heading north on Highway 66 toward Kernersville. It was carrying 22 children.

A Jeep SUV heading in the opposite direction tried to turn left onto Brookford Road and ran into the side of the bus.

Minor details in news reports vary: all or most of the kids attend school in Guilford County; all or most are elementary-school age; no charges will be filed, or the investigation is ongoing.

The injuries to the kids on the bus were also said to be minor: “a few children scraped their knees or bumped their heads;” they had “knots on the head, bruising, and ankle and knee injuries;” they “did not need to go to the hospital.”

Neither driver appeared to have been hurt.

I hope the physical injuries are indeed all minor. These were very early reports.

But the impact was obviously powerful enough that everyone involved was vigorously shaken. All the children on the bus should be monitored closely in the coming days to be sure no injuries manifest themselves as time goes on. Both drivers should keep watch on their own physical condition as well.

Mentally – well, that is another matter. Friends and clients have many times related to me instances of accident trauma – or even instances of of near misses – that changed their mental state significantly, or at least altered their attitudes toward traveling on the highway.

Most of the accidents I have read of recently involved buses that had stopped, when children were going to or from the buses or getting on or off. In this case, one officer said the bus did not have any flashing lights activated at the time of the accident because the bus was not stopped. One report said, “The SUV … didn’t see the northbound bus.”

A “busman’s holiday” is a vacation that involves doing something similar to what one does at work. The term is often used to mean a vacation that really isn’t a vacation at all. On our streets and highways, danger never takes a holiday. As drivers, with regard to the protection of our children, none of us can ever afford to take a holiday either.