By CHRISTIN COYNE
A 10-year-old Parker County boy died Monday after being run over while trying to catch a school bus in front of his home.
The incident occurred around 6:30 a.m. in the 100 block of Hilltop Meadows Drive during partial early morning darkness, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The southbound Springtown ISD bus had stopped in front of the home to load a student, senior trooper Gary Rozzell said, adding that the boy, identified as Haven Lee Norton, came from the east side of the road to cross in front of the vehicle when the bus began moving again.
The boy’s mother, who witnessed the incident, told authorities that he tripped and fell in front of the bus, Rozzell said.
The driver did not see the boy and ran over the child, according to Rozzell.
Haven, a fourth grader at Springtown Elementary, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In addition to the driver, four children and another adult were aboard the bus at the time.
At least one of the students on the bus was reportedly able to provide authorities some information, as well.
The wreck is still under investigation, Rozzell said.
The 52-year-old driver voluntarily went with Springtown ISD for a drug and alcohol screen per the district’s procedure, though troopers have no indication drugs or alcohol were a factor, Rozzell said.
The driver has been with the district for two years and has been placed on leave, Springtown ISD Superintendent Mike Kelley said, adding that it is standard operating prodecure to place an employee on administrative leave so an investigation can be conducted, and it does not indicate any wrongdoing.
Crisis Management Team counselors were available for students at the elementary school Monday morning and the district began notifying parents through the ParentLink calling system around 9:30 a.m., according to Kelley.
When some of the fourth graders began talking about the incident Monday morning, he spoke with both of Haven’s classes to make sure they had the facts and not fiction, Kelley said.
“A tragedy like this is very difficult for anybody involved,” Kelley said. “We understand that whatever struggle we have is far, far inferior to the family’s.”
“We’re going to make sure that first and foremost we pray for the family,” Kelley said, adding that the teachers will lean on each other and care for their students.
The school sent home a letter to parents and the district’s Crisis Management Team will continue to be available for students, according to Kelley.
“The death of a student will have a significant impact on students and staff members,” Kelley said. “Individuals will react in many different ways, some more intensely than others. I believe that one of the most important things we can do at this point is maintain a supportive environment and encourage open expression of feelings. We want to make sure that every student receives the support and assistance he or she needs to cope with this loss.”
Kelley said he expects Tuesday to be even more challenging, both for the family and the school, as they have time for Haven’s death to sink in.