Boy struck by school bus

COVINGTON - A 9-year-old West Newton Elementary School student is recovering after being hit by a school bus before daylight Friday morning on Plum Orchard Drive in western Newton County.

According to a Newton County Sheriff's Office incident report, Deputy Dale Shirley responded to the scene of the accident about 7 a.m. Friday.

A witness, who did not speak English but had her comments translated, said she "saw the child running down the right side of the street in the same direction the bus was traveling," according to the report.

She said he ran beside the bus and "ran in front of the bus," but she did not see the bus strike the child, the report reads.

"It appeared the grill (of the bus) was broken out in a spot consistent with the child's head," NCSO spokesman Lt. Bill Watterson said.

When the deputy arrived on the scene, the child was lying in the street.

"He was conscious and crying" when the deputy arrived, the report reads. "There was a scrape on the right side of his forehead about the size of a quarter."

The school bus, 90-2, was parked in the street where the child was found, according to the report.

"The student was transported by air flight to (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston) as a precautionary measure," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations at the Newton County School System. "We received word later (Friday) morning that the student is fine and will be released (Friday)."

The bus driver, who Viniard would not say was a full-time or part-time employee, was not charged.

"The child just ran out in front of the bus, and the driver could not have seen him," Georgia State Patrol Trooper J. Lewis said. "He just darted out in front of the bus."

The school system does not plan to take any action against the bus driver.

"She was not at fault," Viniard said. "The driver is obviously very upset that this occurred, and counselors have spoken to her, but there will be no disciplinary action taken, as she did nothing wrong."

Viniard said there were only a few students on the bus at the time of the incident and KidsNet Newton made counseling services available to them, as well as other students and staff members.

Citizen reporter Jay Jones contributed to this story.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.