7-year-old girl in a coma after being hit by pickup truck at Maryland bus stop
A 7-year-old girl is fighting for her life after she was hit by a truck after getting off of her school bus on Tuesday afternoon.
Skyla Shirriel, a middle school student, was struck by a pickup truck while crossing the road near her home in Bryantown, Maryland, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office (CCSO.)
Authorities say the child was able to safely pass in front of her bus and was attempting to cross the southbound lanes when she was struck by a 35-year-old woman driving a Ford F-250. Witnesses told police that the bus had its flashing red lights and its stop-arm activated at the time of the accident.
The driver of the truck, who has not yet been charged in relation to the crash, remained on the scene and the victim was airlifted to a children's hospital with critical injuries. She remains in serious condition but is reportedly expected to survive.
"(Skyla) was late last night put in a medically induced coma," Mike Wathen, a close family friend of the victim, told WJLA.
Wathen, who says he and his children are housemates of Skyla and her father, told the station that his sons, among other children, were almost struck, too, and that they are all shaken by the incident.
"The other three little boys were pretty shook [sic] up. They had a tough time last night," Wathen said through tears. "They just had questions about what happened to her. They all saw it."
Members of the CCSO's Traffic Operations Unit are currently investigating Tuesday's crash, which is the latest in a recent chain of bus stop accidents that have left students injured or worse.
In late October, three Indiana siblings — Alivia Stahl, 9, and Xzavier and Mason Ingle, both 6 — were struck and killed by a pickup truck while trying to board their school bus. Another student, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was also struck. He suffered multiple broken bones and was airlifted to a hospital to undergo emergency surgery.
The same week, Dalen Thomas, a 9-year-old Mississippi boy, was struck and killed by a pickup truck while crossing a highway to board his school bus. One day later, a 7-year-old child was found dead of a hit-and-run at a Pennsylvania bus stop.
In all of these incidents, the school bus drivers were reportedly following proper protocol, meaning they had their stop-arms out and red lights flashing.
Sadly, bus driver Joselyn Brown told WJLA that she sees cars ignore these signals constantly.
"I will see them coming and know they're not gonna stop," Brown told the station. "I push my horn until they go by [and] they still don’t stop. All of us experience it every day."
"Just stop! Stop when you see the yellow lights even. Slow down! Stop! Somebody's child is gonna get hurt just like what happened yesterday," she added, referencing Skyla's injuries.