The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed that 8-year-old Jaidyn Williams of August, Ga., died Thursday evening after being hit by a passing motorist earlier this month. The fourth-grader from Sue Reynolds Elementary School was crossing the road to catch his bus when the van struck him.
Charges against 20-year-old Scott William Hancock were upgraded today to vehicular homicide in the first degree by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office Traffic Division, according to WJBF. Hancock has been held in the Richmond County jail since the accident. Prior charges included serious injury by motor vehicle, reckless driving and failure to stop for a school bus while loading and unloading.
On Dec. 9 Williams was walking south across the westbound lanes of Belair Road, when Hancock was traveling southbound in a Chrysler Town & Country van and failed to stop for the school bus. The bus had its stop arm extended and flashing lights activated.
The accident occurred at approximately 7:10 a.m., when it was still dark out, and police reported conditions were also foggy that morning.
Several states, including North Carolina and Illinois, have enacted harsher penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses that are loading or unloading students. Offenders can now lose their driver's license for a year or longer, and face jail time if they injure or kill a pedestrian.
Williams is the fourth student who has been killed by passing motorists in the dark pre-dawn hours this school year. Every year about a half-dozen schoolchildren are killed in the United States by motorists who fail to obey school bus stop laws.