An eight-year-old boy in Omaha, Nebraska was hit when he darted back out into the street in front of the school bus from where he had just disembarked.
The tragic incident happened just before 5 p.m. Monday when an Omaha Public Schools bus released 16 students off at a stop near the home of eight-year-old Haji Mohamed. Surveillance video from a nearby residence shows Mohamed walking down the sidewalk with a group of other students before inexplicably running back to the street and out in front of the bus. The bus was slowly pulling away from the curb to merge back into traffic.
The second-grader at Springville Elementary sustained what Sgt. Chuck Casey of the Omaha Police Department called “extremely life-threatening” injuries. The boy received “life-saving measures” and was taken to Nebraska Medicine, where he died that evening. The six other students on the bus were unhurt and were taken back to school by a second bus.
Omaha Public Schools uses contractor Student Transportation of America for school bus services. The driver, Ashleigh Avant, has worked for STA for four years.
OPS administrators, its transportation department and STA are cooperating with the Omaha Police Department in the ongoing investigation. STA is also conducting an internal investigation with an independent third party.
Eyewitness Kani Wright, who was driving behind the bus at the time of the accident, told local news station KMTV 3 News Now that there were still children in the area when he came upon Mohamed lying in the road and covered in blood. OPS provided grief counselors to ride the route with students on Tuesday, reached out to the families of student riders with personal calls, and made grief counseling available for STA drivers.
“The OPS/STA families are supporting one another and the family of our student, Haji, following yesterday’s tragic accident. We extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to Haji’s family,” a statement released by the district on Tuesday read in part.
STA drivers held a private vigil Tuesday morning.
The Nebraska Department of Education says students should move 12 feet away from the bus after disembarking and wait for the driver to signal them across—advice that STA echoes on its website. OPS spokeswoman Monique Farmer said she could not comment as to whether or not the driver properly followed all procedures, since the investigation is ongoing.