An 11-year-old middle school student in Apex, North Carolina (NC), suffered a broken leg, a shattered hip and a number of head injuries when he was struck by a car while crossing a street to get onto a school bus. The pedestrian accident occurred near the intersection of Johnson Pond Road and Oak Park Drive at around 7 am on September 30, 2014.
A 16-year-old girl has been charged with failing to slow down in a pedestrian area and for not stopping when approaching a school bus that was loading or unloading children. The bus driver had extended the stop sign from the side of the bus, had all the warning lights running and was repeatedly blowing the bus’ horn to alert oncoming drivers and kids about her presence. The at-fault driver said she missed all the warnings and did not see the boy she ran into because of heavy fog.
This is the second serious school bus stop accident in the Raleigh area within two weeks. Earlier in September, a man hit and killed a young teenager in Wendell, NC. He also tried to explain that fatal pedestrian crash by claiming he never saw the victim. Research done by television station WNCN regarding that wreck revealed that “13 North Carolina students had been killed since 1999 trying to get to and from school.” Perhaps more alarmingly, a one-day count of illegal bus passing done for the North Carolina Department of Instruction in March 2013 showed that 3,153 drivers in all types of vehicle went around or sped by stopped school buses.
As a Carolina personal injury and wrongful death attorney, I know that “I never saw …” excuses no one from responsibility and liability for the injuries they inflict or the loss of lives they cause. Anytime anyone takes the wheel, he or she also accepts the responsibility for paying attention, following traffic laws and doing all they can to protect the health and safety of other people on the road.