POSTED: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 10:13am
UPDATED: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 10:32am
Tyler, Tx (KETK) — Family and neighbors of 18 month old Aria Preciado are still trying to come to terms with the fact that the girl was killed on Tuesday afternoon, after being hit by a Chapel Hill ISD school bus.
Chapel Hill ISD Superintendent Donni Cook tells KETK, counselors are available at the schools for any students or faculty who may have questions or need emotional support following the tragic accident.
"There are no words to adequately express our sorrow to the family for their loss and our prayers are with them," Cook said in a released statement. "Our prayers are also with the bus driver and with our students and staff who know the family or were on the scene."
The accident happened around 3:30 p.m., on Pearl Street near the intersection of Gallion Avenue.
Justice of the Peace Mitch Shamburger tells KETK the bus driver was dropping off a child on the right side of the road when a mother crossed the street and didn't realize her daughter had followed her through the gate. The bus driver then moved forward and ran over the little girl.
A witness says they chased bus down, but not before it had traveled about 75 feet, according to Shamburger.
"[Aria's mother] started screaming, she didn't want to believe it was her child and kept saying, 'she's in the gate... she's in the gate!'," the witness told KETK.
Chapel Hill officials say that the school's transportation department quickly removed the children that remained on the bus that was involved in the accident and put them on another school bus to leave the scene.
DPS, along with Chapel ISD, are investigating the incident.
"The school has a standard operating procedure, standard protocol, that their drivers do when they're involved in a crash," said Smith County DPS spokesperson Jean Dark.