This morning, four students were riding to school on their usual bus, taking their usual route to Lake Hamilton Elementary School. It was 6:30 in the morning on a rural road, the headlights from the school bus shining into the morning darkness. As the bus neared Old Dallas Road, it struck and killed a 7-year-old school girl.
The Lake Hamilton School District, based in Pearcy, Arlansas, confirmed the incident with a statement, reports NBC News:
“The Lake Hamilton School community is deeply saddened this morning by the tragic fatality of one of our students involved in a school bus accident. We grieve with the student’s family at this extremely difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The school district superintendent, Steve Anderson, reported to KAIT8 News that “the bus hit the second grader early Friday morning near her bus stop in a rural area northwest of Pearcy.” Anderson also confirmed that “the bus driver knew the girl personally.”
Charges have not been filed, and the identities of the driver and the student have not been released to the public. Anderson states that “the driver is ‘distraught'” and has been employed with the school district for five years.
NBC News reports that “Garland County Sheriff’s Department Deputy A.J. Tart said at the news conference that at the time of the accident the headlights from the bus were likely the only light on the road.”
Counselors were available at the school to speak with students, particularly the four students who were on the bus when the accident occurred.