Reporting Ken MacLeod
CONCORD (CBS) – It was the same bus driver dropping off the same boys – just like every other school day this year. But for some reason, she let them out at a different spot on Wednesday afternoon.
Moments later, one of the youngsters was hit by a car trying to cross the street.
“I saw it point blank,” said witness Sally Hughes. “The boys just darted out.”
It happened right in front of 34 Barrett’s Mill Road, and the 9-year-old victim suffered a nasty gash on his forehead that needed several stitches.
“But he didn’t have any broken bones or a concussion,” said Hughes. “That was a miracle.”
The Concord school bus usually drops off the young brothers at the end of their driveway, and it is unclear why that didn’t happen on Wednesday. But this time, that driver overshot the boys’ house by 100 feet or so – letting them out at a nearby intersection instead.
“This is a veteran driver who’s been doing this route since the beginning of the school year,” Deputy School Superintendent John Flaherty said.
When the youngsters walked back to their normal drop-off spot, a motorist waiting behind the stopped school bus waved them across the street – apparently not realizing that the bus had already turned off its flashers – and traffic was already coming the other way.
The minivan that struck the 9-year-old wasn’t going very fast, and witnesses say the Acton woman driving it barely had time to hit the brakes as the boys popped out from between two cars.
“There was absolutely no chance,” said Hughes. “The boys darted across the street and by the time the driver saw them they were in front of her car.”
The boy went to Children’s Hospital as a precaution. His older brother was unhurt. But police say the abnormal drop-off spot was clearly the start of trouble.
“Normally they would get off the bus with its lights flashing and cross the street in front of it,” says Concord Police Sargent John Kennedy. “But this time they went down the street and crossed in between the stopped vehicles.”
Police doubt any criminal charges will come of it. But school officials say the bus driver not only missed the proper stop – she also broke several protocols afterward.
“We really won’t be offering more comment,” says Deputy Superintendent Flaherty, “because there’s a potential disciplinary action involved here.”
Some insist the driver should have gone around the block to get the boys back to their normal drop-off point. And beyond that, they say it’s the drivers responsibility to make sure kids get across the street after any stop.
The 9-year-old is healing at home. His Dad declined our request for an interview and didn’t want his son’s name used.
But he feels lucky the boy is okay, and says he’ll be back at school on Monday.