RALEIGH, N.C. — Six-year-old Ashley Ramos-Hernandez died on Wednesday from injuries she sustained after being struck by an SUV as she disembarked her school bus.
Geraldine Baron Deitz, the driver of the vehicle that struck the girl, has been charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and passing a stopped bus, The News & Observer reported.
Deitz reportedly told police that she saw the stopped school bus facing west on the street that she was driving on. She said that at first she stopped while waiting for the bus to turn south onto another street. When the bus did not turn, she told police, she continued to drive east and heard a thud.
Deitz continued on before realizing she had struck a child — then she stopped.
According to The News & Observer, Deitz said that the bus did not have all of its stop signals and markers activated. However, witnesses told police that the signals and markers were properly activated while Ramos-Hernandez and other children tried to cross the street.
Thomas Ernest Waters, a general contractor, was driving behind Deitz’s Jeep prior to the accident. "The bus was at the top of the hill on North Hills Drive. It had its lights on. The stop light was out on the side. It had stopped and was letting kids off," Walters told the newspaper.
He went on to say that the Jeep slowed, but it did not stop, hitting and rolling over the girl.
Walters called 911 and stayed at the scene until emergency workers transported Ramos-Hernandez to the hospital. He found out after returning from work later that day that she passed away.
"She was just a young kid with her whole life ahead of her," Walters told The News & Observer. "It's beyond tragic."