The police report says the little girl, who was probably 6 or 7 years old, was dragged for around 100 feet, which is bad enough, but witnesses claim that the distance was closer to 600 feet or more.
Thankfully the child wasn't seriously injured — she was treated for "road rash" on her legs, which had to be pretty painful, and I'm sure the entire incident was scary as hell. A witness says she didn't see the girl try to get off the bus but did see the bus driving at a normal speed down the road with the girl's legs hanging out. The witness says she saw a car speed by, honking, trying to get the driver's attention, and finally succeeded.
I know the school year is winding down for many across the U.S. (In fact, my kids are already out of school.) Bus drivers are probably pretty locked into their routines by this time of the year and likely herd their charges around automatically. However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't check to make sure the kids get off the bus before you slam the doors shut and take off.
Surely that's a part of school bus driver training? First-graders are still pretty small and might approach getting off a bus slowly and with caution, which is always a good idea, as those stairs can be steep.
When I first read the headline, I was immediately reminded of Jake Robel, a 6-year-old who lived near me who was dragged to death when his family's vehicle was carjacked when my sons were young. So in that aspect, I'm really glad this story had a relatively happy ending — it could have been much worse.
Still, though, it was entirely and completely preventable. Witnesses said that it appeared the girl's backpack had gotten caught on the doors when they swung shut, which means she was still pretty close to the bus when the driver decided she was clear and moved out.
This was a scary situation, but again, I'm so glad she wasn't seriously injured.
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