12 killed in 'danger zone' in 2002-03

Posted on December 1, 2003

TOPEKA, Kan. — Twelve children were killed while getting on or off a school bus during the 2002-03 school year, a drop of one fatality from the previous year.

According to the Kansas State Department of Education’s annual loading/unloading statistics, six children were killed by their own school bus and six others were killed by passing vehicles. Four of the 12 children were killed while waiting at the bus stop in the morning, and five were fatally injured while getting off the bus in the evening.

The following descriptions summarize the fatal incidents.


  • A 4-year-old girl exited the school bus and was killed by the back dual wheels of the bus.


  • A 5-year-old girl exited the bus, crossed in front of the bus and turned back to pick up an object she had dropped. She was then killed by the bus.


  • A 6-year-old girl who was several feet from her driveway was struck and killed by a motorcyclist shortly after she stepped off her school bus.


  • A 6-year-old girl and other children were waiting for the school bus at a road sign. The school bus stopped and loaded the children. After loading, the bus made a right turn. Children on the bus said they saw the girl chasing the school bus trying to get it to stop. As the bus was turning right, she apparently fell under the rear wheels of the bus.


  • A 6-year-old boy was crossing the street to catch his school bus and was struck and killed by the rear wheels of the bus.


  • A 6-year-old girl ran into the path of an oncoming school bus, apparently thinking it was her bus.


  • A 7-year-old girl was struck and killed by a passing motorist. The school bus driver said she had activated the flashing yellow lights as she approached the driveway. She observed a vehicle approaching and was motioning with her hand for the children to stay out of the roadway. The bus driver said she had not activated the stop sign when the child started into the roadway.


  • A 9-year-old girl got out of her mother’s car. The student attempted to cross two lanes of traffic behind her mother’s car when a motorist struck her as she tried to get to the school bus.


  • A 9-year-old boy was crossing the highway when a northbound motorist hit him.


  • A 9-year-old boy exited the bus and ran across the highway when a passing motorist struck him.


  • A 15-year-old boy was waiting at school for the school bus to take him to a baseball practice. The boy fell off the sidewalk and fell under the front wheels of the bus.


  • A school bus with stoplights activated was unloading students at a bus stop. A Ford Explorer was traveling north and struck the rear of the school bus. The vehicle then ran off the right shoulder, striking two students who were getting off the bus. The vehicle continued to travel north, overturning several times and coming to rest in a field. One student was thrown approximately 25 feet and a 16-year-old girl was trapped under the vehicle and killed.
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