MACON COUNTY, Ala. — A 5-year-old boy was fatally struck by a school bus on Monday morning after apparently trying to retrieve his backpack from the front of the bus, WSFA reports.
Sheriff Andre Brunson told the news source that the bus driver saw siblings of the boy, Bissiah Hedges, board the bus, but did not see him. The driver told investigators she looked back at the door of his house one last time to see if he was coming outside, but started to pull away when she didn't see him. Hedges had apparently dropped his backpack in front of the bus and had bent down to pick it up. Amanda Hartley, Hedges’ mother, told the news source that Hedges’ book bag got caught on the crossing arm.
Hartley also told WSFA that the bus driver had just started driving the bus this year. The Alabama State Department of Education will conduct an investigation with the school district, which will include testing the bus driver for alcohol and drugs, and she will be placed on leave, according to the news source. Troopers said they “don't expect to find anything beyond a tragic accident, and charges are not anticipated,” WSFA reports.
Alabama State School Board Superintendent Dr. Thomas Bice told the news source that transportation staff are helping determine the facts involved in the incident and will work with local law enforcement agencies on a review. “Our focus is on the family of the student and all those directly and indirectly involved in this loss,” Bice added.
Macon County Schools is collecting donations on its website for Hedges’ final arrangements.