WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A 17-year-old was charged with the hit-and-run accident that injured a 7-year-old girl at a school bus stop Monday morning.
Accidents involving school buses have been occurring with a chilling regularity since last fall. As one reader remarked to me in an e-mail: “The accounts of these incidents really hit close to home.”
He was so right – perhaps on several more levels than he realized.
The late-breaking news accounts still don’t all match, but it appears the child was hit at 4729 N. Cherry St. just before 8 a.m. as she was walking with her older sister to the bus from the family’s house.
Close to home.
Image / Google Maps
Gibson Elementary School at 2020 Walker Road. The school is less than 5 miles from the accident site.The suspected hit-and-run vehicle was found less than 3/4 of a mile from the accident site.
Edward Rashad Lee Fulks was charged with felony hit-and-run, felony passing a school bus and striking a person, failure to stop for a school bus, and driving without a license, according to a news release from the Winston-Salem Police Department.
The girl was crossing the street when a dark green car went around other stopped vehicles, police said. Reports said the car’s side mirror struck the child in the face. The car then left the scene. A car matching the description of the hit-and-run vehicle was found at the suspect’s home at 116 Cherryview Lane, less than ¾ of a mile from the accident scene, about a 2-minute drive away.
Close to home.
The injured 7-year-old boarded the bus, which went on to school, reports said. The child’s father said that the older daughter ran home and told him her sister had been hit.
He told WFMY News 2:
"She came back this time, she was very frantic and panicking, just crying out of control saying that Kelly got hit so I was thinking she was laying up in the streets, so when I looked out the door, I was like where is she then? And she indicated she's on the bus."
Close to home.
But before he could go check on his little girl, the bus was already gone.
The father, who on camera was obviously distraught but managed to keep control of his emotions, said that he spoke later with a teacher who had noticed that the girl was bleeding after the child came to class. The teacher sent the girl to the school nurse’s office.
The child, who is in the second grade, sustained minor injuries to her face and neck, according to police and school officials. The father said that the bus continued on its route to school with his daughter on board, making the rest of its regular stops on its way to Gibson Elementary School at 2020 Walker Road, about 10 minutes away.
Close to home.
The child’s father told media that the girl could not open her mouth, that her face was swollen and she was limping. News video showed cuts on the child’s face.
Reports Tuesday from WXII 12 and The Winston-Salem Journal said that Fulks was being held under a $10,000 bond in Forsyth County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Forsyth District Court on Jan. 25.
Edward Rashad Lee Fulks
Image / Winston-Salem Police Department
Theo Helm, director of Marketing and Communications for the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, said the bus driver continued on the his route as usual because he did not see the child get hit, and because he was not told about the collision when it happened.
On Monday morning, the school bus had its stop arm extended and its lights were flashing. That has been the case in many of these accidents. Their frequency has been unbelievable. Their results have been devastating and deadly.
And by nature, they hit close to home, when a bus stops to pick up or drop off child, often within sight of his or her house.
Death can, literally, come to your door.
Two commenters on some of my recent blogs are teachers. They obviously took this issue very personally. One told the story of a close friend and colleague who witnessed his own daughter’s accident: “The young girl was hit as her father helplessly looked on.” It happened right in front of the high school where the girl was a senior and the father taught physics.
The fall of 2012 was a deadly season for school children. The stories of violence have been in the national news and here close by. I had hoped as the 2013 school year began that the season had ended.
But it has not.
Earlier Egerton blogs following bus accidents:
2012’s deadly season of school bus accidents
After a deadly season, a prayer for the new school year
Child struck by car in hit & run; bus continued route to school
This story has many twist and turns. It makes me very aware of all the dangers hidden around the transportation of our young children. I drive by a school 2-3 times a week. Buses are coming and going at that time of day. I now feel more aware and -- i will be a better driver around the buses and the school.
These school-bus accidents are big news in the local media now, but you have apparently been watching this tragic series of events since October. I count nine accidents you have mentioned in your blogs, including the death of a crossing guard in Mooresville, N.C. There were four fatalities: three adults and one child. I hope people will read your blogs and, as Marie C did above, understand the message there: People have to fundamentally change their driving behavior when confronted with school buses.
Make that 11 accidents, Tom.
One in High Point Wednesday morning: http://www.wxii12.com/news/local-news/piedmont/Girl-hit-while-trying-to-board-school-bus-in-High-Point/-/10703612/18063278/-/12aahqkz/-/index.html?absolute=true
One in Kernersville this morning: http://myfox8.com/2013/01/10/school-bus-rear-ended-in-kernersville-no-injuries/
And yes, that is the message I am hoping to send.
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