A North Carolina girl was dragged for almost a mile by her school bus when the driver accidentally closed the door on her arm, according to the Daily Mail. At approximately 3:45 p.m. on Monday, Estrella Klepzig arrived at the bus stop to pick up her six-year-old granddaughter Chelsea Klepzig to take her home in Kernersville in the Winston-Salem area. However, just before the girl could get off the bus, the driver, Reuben Hash, 78, accidentally closed the door on her arm and drove off.
Estrella witnessed the tragic incident as it unfolded and immediately followed the school bus to tried to get the driver to stop. She said “I kept flashing him to stop, stop because I didn’t see her feet anymore. He didn’t even give her a chance to move. She was still in the door.” The bus driver dragged the girl – who attends Union Cross Elementary School – for almost a mile from Stonington Way Court to Pine Meadow Drive before making his next stop. It is unclear how fast the driver was travelling, but when he made his next top, that’s when Hash noticed Chelsea’s arm was caught in the door.
— KTLA (@KTLA) December 8, 2015
— WFMY News 2 (@WFMY) December 9, 2015
Hash quickly opened the door and Estrella stated that she watched her granddaughter fall to the ground. It was reported that 17 other children were inside of the school bus when the girl was dragged for almost a mile, and no one noticed. Although her feet and legs were dragged during the unfortunate incident, she suffered minor scratches and bruises that were none life-threatening, according to NY Daily News.
Although Chelsea’s parents were shaken up by their daughter being dragged by her school bus, they are glad that most of her arm was caught in the door because they feared that she could have slipped and fell under the bus as it was in motion had less of her arm been caught. If the incident would have played out in that way, the outcome would have been much different.
“If he was following any kind of procedure that he should be following, why didn’t he notice that my child didn’t make it around the front of the bus,” said Chelsea’s father John Klepzig as he show reporters his daughter’s mangled clothing and shoes. Apparently, the driver closed the door and drove off before Chelsea was able to get off the bus, knowing he had to wait until she crossed the street where her grandmother was waiting. “It scared me. I didn’t know how to react to it. Just to realize what had happened to her, it just tore me up.”
“We are so thankful that the child did not suffer any injuries that were worse,” said Theo Helm, who is the chief of staff at Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. “We’re hopeful that something like this never happens again.” He also stated that, every August, the school system trains its drivers and a note is left on their seat before they start driving to remind them of what they learned during training.
Officials sent letters to all of the parents of the children that were on the school bus to inform them about the incident, as well as separately informing the rest of the parents whose children attend Union Cross Elementary School.
Hash was suspended without pay following the incident until school officials were able to decide whether or not to fire him, but the bus driver resigned from his position on Wednesday after working with the school district for 15 years, holding full-time, part-time, and substitute positions. It is unclear why Hash decided to retire, as he did not release a statement but as of now, there are no charges filed against him. However, according to the Highway patrol, an investigation is underway.
[Image via Shutterstock]