Ohio resident Sodany ‘April’ Phann was struck and killed by a school bus early Monday morning as she was crossing the street. Details released say Phann was walking to her own bus stop when a special needs bus with only one passenger hit her.
The accident occurred at 6:30 am while it was still dark with limited visibility, and the road was wet due to rain. Officials for the bus company say the driver, whose name has not been released at this time, has a 23-year spotless record. They also claim that the bus was going approximately five miles per hour when it hit Phann.
Phann’s uncle was present, and saw the accident take place. He says he had to wave the driver down after the impact, indicating the driver may not have realized that Phann had been hit.
The bus company’s safety director, Keith Harms, said that an investigation is ongoing.
Phann’s family say the girl was an eager, thoughtful student who wanted to be a doctor. She had already received several letters from schools interested in her achievements, and she was planning a birthday trip to Cambodia. Phann was a student at Lakota East High School in Liberty Township, Ohio. Her family and neighbors have put up a small memorial near the scene, and her school brought in grief counselors to speak with her friends and classmates about her death.
A school bus is a large, powerful vehicle, and even moving slowly an impact can cause tremendous injury to a young human body. Roughly 27 children of school age die in school bus accidents each year. About 20 of those are pedestrians.
When looking at the number of fatal school bus accidents, we must keep in mind that school buses are the largest form of mass transit in the country. Almost twice as many passenger trips are made in school buses than are made in transit buses. Almost half a million school buses carry 24 million students each school day. School bus related accidents account for only one third of one percent of traffic accident deaths.