RUMFORD, Maine — A 6-year-old boy was fatally struck by a school bus after he fell off his bicycle and into the roadway on Wednesday, police said.
Just after 3 p.m., the boy, who was identified on Thursday as Jayce Holt, according to News Center Maine, was heading north on his bicycle on the west side of the sidewalk of Waldo St. and came off into the intersection at Essex Ave., police said. Investigators believe that Holt was interacting with someone on the bus while he was riding his bicycle, according to the news source, and likely did not realize that the bus was turning left into the intersection until it was too late. When Holt attempted to brake, he fell into the intersection at Essex Ave. He was pronounced dead at the hospital, News Center Maine reports.
Regional School Unit #10 school district officials sent a release to parents, according to the news source, which confirmed that the boy, who was a first-grade student at Rumford Elementary School, died as a result of being hit by the bus. The school district also stated in the release that “the entire RSU #10 community is grieving this loss" and that its “thoughts and prayers go out to the family."
Police said that the bus driver, Stephen Arsenault, is cooperating with investigators and that there is no indication that he was at fault in the crash, Portland Press Herald reports. Rumford Police Chief Stacy Carter told the newspaper that speed is not considered a factor in the crash, since the bus was traveling slowly as it was turning left. Carter added that Arsenault was not aware that one of the students aboard the bus was interacting with Holt.
The Portland Press Herald obtained records maintained by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and reported that they indicate that Arsenault has had a clean driving history for at least the last 10 years, and received his passenger bus and school bus permits in 2013.