Police identify driver in school bus passing incident that injured student
A seventh grade student at Middlesex Middle School was hit by a car Tuesday after the driver passed a a stopped school bus she was exiting, according to Principal Shelly Somers. The student was described as "okay" by Somers in an email to parents Tuesday night, though she was "transported to the hospital and treated for cuts and scrapes.
The email from Somers is below:
Good evening. There was an accident involving an MMS student on the Post Road this afternoon. Although she is okay, one of our 7th graders was hit by a car as she was crossing the Post Road after exiting the late bus. The bus had its sign out and lights on, and the student paused to look both left and right. Her mom feels that had she not taken this extra few seconds, she would have been further into the road, and thus more seriously injured. She asked me to have you remind your children to always look before crossing. The student thought all was clear, so she took a step and was struck by the mirror of a car that did not stop for the bus. Our student was transported to Stamford hospital and treated for cuts and scrapes. I am so happy to report that she was released this evening. She was shaken but brave, and did give me a smile when I excused her from all homework. Have a good night. Shelley
According to Capt. Don Anderson of the Darien Police Department , the student, attempting to cross the Post Road in a northerly direction, was struck by the passenger side mirror of a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck traveling eastbound on the Post Road in the left lane. The student was transported to an area hospital for evaluation and it appeared that her injuries, thankfully, consisted only of scrapes and bruises.
The operator of the vehicle, Gary Hartog, age 35, of Rowayton, remained at the scene and was fully cooperative with investigators, police said. Hartog stated he had looked down at his phone, which was reportedly on the seat and ringing, and did not see the stopped school bus or the pedestrian, according to a statement from the police.
Janice Marzano, program director for The Depot Youth Center, said there is no reason, ever, for drivers to ignore a stopped school bus with children exiting, and added that part of the problem is so many drivers texting while driving.
"The outcome in this situation could have been much, much worse," she said.
Anderson said he could not answer whether the distracted driving citation was due to officers concluding the driver was texting until he saw the report.