‘Slow down! Stop!’: 7-year-old in coma after being hit by truck while getting off school bus

‘Slow down! Stop!’: 7-year-old in coma after being hit by truck while getting off school bus

News Staff

A 7-year-old Maryland girl remains in critical condition after being struck by a truck while getting off her school bus this week, the latest in a recent rash of accidents involving children at bus stops.

Skyla Shirriel was struck by a pickup truck Tuesday while crossing the street in Bryantown, Maryland, about an hour’s drive southeast of Washington, D.C.

Although the bus had activated its flashing red lights and stop sign, a 35-year-old woman driving a Ford F-250 hit the girl as she was trying to get to her home across the street, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

Skyla was immediately flown to Children’s National Hospital in Washington with critical injuries, the release said.

“She was late last night put in a medically induced coma,” family friend Mike Wathen told WJLA on Wednesday.

Diane Richardson, a spokeswoman with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, told CNN Thursday that Skyla was in critical but stable condition.

The truck driver, whose name has not been disclosed, remained on the scene after the incident and the case is still under investigation, officials said.

“She’s not in custody as charges are still pending. We are waiting for the investigation to wrap up, which could take a couple of weeks,” Richardson told CNN.

School officials said the family has been keeping them informed of Skyla’s well being and has asked for assistance with food and gas.

“She is receiving the best medical attention at this time for several severe injuries, and her family is there with her,” Robert Opiekun, T.C. Martin Elementary School principal, said in a press release.

“I spoke with Skyla’s father, Mr. Shirriel, and he told me that any assistance would be appreciated.”

No other injuries were reported in the accident, but Charles County first responders said a 53-year-old was transported to a hospital after suffering a panic attack.

Wathen said his children witnessed the incident and were nearly hit too.

“The other three little boys were pretty shook up. They had a tough time last night,” said Wathen. “They just had questions about what happened to her. They all saw it.”

Bus driver Joselyn Brown told WJLA that she often sees drivers not stopping for the blinking lights and extended stop sign.

“I will see them coming and know they’re not gonna stop…I push my horn until they go by [and] they still don’t stop. All of us experience it every day,” she said.”Just stop! Stop when you see the yellow lights even. Slow down! Stop! Somebody’s child is gonna get hurt just like what happened yesterday,” said Brown.

One of many recent bus-stop accidents

In most states, drivers are required to stop and wait for a stopped school bus flashing its lights with a raised stop arm.

But they often don’t. The Maryland State Department of Education conducted a survey that found 3,812 bus-stop violations — such as motorists passing stopped buses — on one single day last spring.

A similar survey by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, published in August, found bus drivers reported that nearly 84,000 vehicles passed their buses illegally during the 2017-2018 school year.

The latest accident in Maryland is just one of many in recent weeks. In the last month there have been at least five other reports of children being killed or injured when they were struck by vehicles while waiting for their school bus, getting off the bus or boarding the bus.

  • In rural Indiana, three siblings were killed as they were crossing the street to catch their bus.
  • In Tampa, Florida, five students were rushed to the hospital after a car hit them at a bus stop.
  • In Tallahassee, Florida, a 5-year-old boy was injured while he was trying to board a bus.
  • In Mississippi, a 9-year-old was killed as he crossed the road to board a bus.
  • In Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old boy was found dead on the side of the road near his home after he was run over by a vehicle.