Family of 11-year-old hit by car in 2014 suing WCPSS
Posted June 16
Wake County, N.C. — The family of an 11-year-old who was hit by a car while getting on a school bus in southern Wake County in 2014 is suing the driver who hit him and the school system.
Michael Burgess Jr., a sixth-grader at West Lake Middle School in Apex, was getting on his school bus on Johnson Pond Road when, authorities say, a teen driver hit him with her car and knocked him into a roadside ditch.
Three years later, parents in his neighborhood say the school bus stop is still exactly where it was.
To get on and off the bus students have to cross busy Johnson Pond Road.
The Burgess family is now suing the Wake County Public School System. Attorneys for the family say the placement of the bus stop was the school system's choice.
"The time that Michael was injured, he had to cross a 45 mph road when it was dark outside, and according to some folks, foggy," said Shawn Howard, the family's attorney. "Which is obviously a much more dangerous set of circumstances for him and the other children."
But one mother who lives in this community disagrees. She thinks the bus stop is safe, because of how attentive the bus driver is.
"If the bus driver doesn't do the sign, they don't walk," said Lauren Hernandez. "If the bus driver does the sign, they walk."
Burgess survived, but suffered a skull fracture, a severe concussion, a broken ankle and cuts and bruises all over his body.
His family and his attorneys hope the lawsuit might protect other children from being in the same situation.
A spokesperson with Wake County Public Schools said they could not comment on the lawsuit because it is currently pending.
Howard said the lawsuit against the driver "has basically been resolved, it just has to be approved by a judge sometime in the next couple of months." He would not say what the resolution was.