PEARCY, Ark. (AP) — A 7-year-old girl was struck and killed early Friday by the school bus she was preparing to board, authorities said.
The bus hit second-grader Hannah Martin near her bus stop in a rural area northwest of Pearcy, according to the Garland County Sheriff’s Department. The accident occurred about 6:30 a.m., about a half-hour before sunrise.
“It is a rural area of the county. There are no streetlights,” Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy A.J. Tart said. “It was early in the morning. It was dark, so the only light that would probably have been available at that time would be from the headlights of the bus.”
No charges have been filed against the bus driver, and his name hasn’t been released. Authorities will forward their investigation to prosecutors, who will decide whether to file charges, Tart said.
Four other students were on the bus when it hit the young girl, Lake Hamilton School Superintendent Steve Anderson said.
“Apparently they did not realize what had taken place,” he told reporters during a news conference.
A different vehicle took those students to school, where grief counselors were on hand.
Anderson said Hannah has two younger siblings, but they’re not school-age. He said he met with the girl’s mother and stepfather after the accident.
“They’ve lost their baby and they were in shock,” Anderson said.
The bus driver, who has worked for the school district for five years, is on paid leave, the superintendent said. The driver knew Hannah personally and was a friend of her family. His granddaughter used to play with Hannah, Anderson said.
“This is a very tough time for him also,” Anderson said.