A school bus driver from upstate New York is lucky to not be facing charges after the bus she was driving killed a young girl in November. In the end, she received what amounts to a traffic ticket, according to WIVB. On November 4, 2016, Alyssa Hearn, 7, got pinned under the bus and died as a result of her injuries.
Hearn had just gotten off the bus with her brother, according to the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. It seems that when they were getting off the bus, the driver was watching for the kids to clear the area. She saw Alyssa’s brother clear the bus, then waited to see if the sister would follow suit. After a wait, she thought that Alyssa must have already moved on, and started the bus moving forward. Alyssa, sadly, chose that moment to step in front of the bus. She was pinned underneath, and while emergency services were able to free her, she died at the hospital.
The school sent a note to inform parents that an accident had occurred, and that a child had died. Grief counselors were also made available for anyone who needed the help. They say that they fully cooperated with the investigation. The driver ended up with a ticket for failing to use due care, and two demerit points. In situations like this, criminal charges such as criminally negligent homicide or vehicular manslaughter are certainly possible.
There are many tips to help kids be as safe as possible when getting to and from school on the school bus, according to the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. For instance, before walking across the street in front of the bus, kids should make eye contact with the bus drive to ensure that they are aware. They should also, as always, look both ways before crossing to watch for any vehicles. Even with flashing lights on the bus, vehicles can come through, whether by accident or negligence. They should never run across, nor should a child stop and turn back to retrieve something they may have forgotten on the bus.
While on the bus, kids should avoid rough play, or standing on the seats, or playing in the aisle. They should be seated quietly so that they can hear the driver if there are any special instructions or announcements. Not only might they miss announcements, but loud noises could distract the driver and cause an accident.
It would be devastating for any parent to have their child injured or worse in a school bus accident. They are supposed to be safe spaces to take our kids to school. If your child has been affected by a school bus accident in Syracuse, make sure to contact an attorney to represent your interests. Your job as a parent should be to help your child through recovery and rehabilitation. Leave the legal work or damage claims and other issues to the experts. Call a Syracuse attorney today for a consultation.