Read "Stopped Bus? Stop car!" here.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An 8-year-old Nicholas County girl is undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg and foot after a vehicle struck her when she got off the school bus Friday, officials said.
The girl was getting off a Summersville Elementary School bus in downtown Summersville at about 2:40 p.m. when an elderly driver ignored the bus's stop sign, continued driving and struck the girl, said Allison Barker, a coordinator with the state Department of Education's communications office.
The girl was taken to Summersville Regional Medical Center and later to CAMC General Hospital to undergo surgery. Barker said the girl had fractures in her right leg and ankle that were not life-threatening.
A Summersville police dispatcher said the city's two officers were investigating Friday afternoon and would not be available for comment until Saturday morning.
Barker said the elderly driver, along with his elderly wife, remained at the scene. She was unsure if police issued a citation and did not immediately know the girl's name. Barker said the incident happened along the bus's normal route and that the girl's mother witnessed the incident.
The incident happened the Friday before National School Bus Safety Week, which the state Department of Education hopes will raise awareness about school bus safety laws. They hope the awareness will educate drivers and children to prevent similar, if not more serious, injuries from occurring.
In 2007, Haven McCarthy, 6, of Lincoln County, was killed when she was hit by a car that illegally drove around a school bus. The driver pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $50.
Lawmakers responded with Haven's Law, which makes it a felony to illegally pass a school bus. A driver who kills a child can now spend up to 10 years in prison.
Department officials say about 450 drivers illegally pass a stopped school bus on any given day in the state, according to a survey of bus drivers from 50 of the state's 55 counties.
Reach Travis Crum at travis.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5163.