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Vigil held for child hit by vehicle

Posted August 20, 2009
Updated August 21, 2009

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— Family and friends gathered on Thursday night to remember a 6-year-old girl hit by a vehicle after getting off her school bus.

Vigil held for child hit by vehicle Family members hold vigil for 6-year-old

Ashley Ramos-Hernandez, a first-grader at Green Year Round Elementary, was hit by a Jeep while crossing North Hill Drive, near Hillock Drive. Family gathered at that spot on Thursday night to pray and sing.

"I miss her a lot," said Remy Hernandez, Ashley's 10-year-old cousin. "She was just a little happy girl."

"How can I not be here when they have been such good neighbors, good friends," neighbor Beth Hill said Thursday.

Ashley's death has also drawn attention to school bus safety.

"This is definitely something we can learn from to make sure...everyone understands school bus safety rules," Green Elementary Principal Shelly Watson said.

School Bus Principal: Need to 'learn' from first-graders death

In general, drivers cannot pass stopped school buses unless they are on the opposite side of a four-lane, divided highway with a median or center turning lane.

Learn about school bus safety.

The Jeep driver, Geraldine Baron Deitz, said she didn't see the bus's stop arm or flashing lights, but witnesses said they were working. Deitz, 83, of Raleigh, faces charges of misdemeanor death by vehicle and passing a stopped school bus.

Starting Dec. 1, 2009, anyone charged with a similar action would automatically face felony charges. The charges are upgraded in a bill passed by the General Assembly this summer.

The law will also allow schools to install automated video recording equipment in buses to record motorists who pass stopped school buses. Those recordings will be admissible as evidence in court.

Sharon Edwards, who has driven school buses for 22 years, said she's often seen people in a hurry pass her bus. She doesn't think they're being disrespectful, but don't know the rules.

"It's a big responsibility. I mean, very big, because I take these kids to be just like my kids," Edwards said.

Grief counselors will be at Green Elementary again Friday to help children cope with their classmate's death.

"She (Ashley) would come up and give me hugs every day," Watson said. "She was just a bright, little girl that was full of joy and is going to be missed."

Ashley's parents, who speak very little English, said through a translator that she was "a beautiful and smart girl" and "they love her very much."

Ashley's family, including her 1-year-old sister Jasmine, gathered on Thursday at the spot the child was hit. They brought her favorite toys and flowers.

Neighbor Theresa Puga doesn't know the family personally, but she felt compelled to leave flowers and a toy dog at the site.

"(We) just wanted to let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them," Puga said.

On average, 16 children per year die nationally getting on and off the school bus, according to School Transportation News. An average of six children die each year in bus crashes.

Last school year, five children died when entering or exiting the school bus.

The PTA at Green Elementary has established a memorial fund for Ashley Ramos-Hernandez. Donations can be made in her name to BB&T Bank, 3000 Duraleigh Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27612


This story is closed for comments.

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  • leo-nc Aug 21, 2009

    This is also why that we must never ever let emotion get into prosecuting a case because as soon as we do, it gets out of hand. Some of you people on here want to burn this woman at the steak but I guarantee you, she's dealing with a heavy heart right now much more than any of you, minus family and loved ones of course. So get over yourselves, and let due process run its course.

  • leo-nc Aug 21, 2009

    Jimmycrackcorn, you really need to go to the bookstore and buy a book called North Carolina Crimes. It's a guidebook we use in LE which shows us which elements must be met in order to charge a particular crime. The only crime in which those elements are met in this case are misdemeanor death by vehicle and of course passing a stopped school bus. In particular, look at the term malice and how it is used in a murder charge.

    This is why I say the comments are out there about this whole ordeal. This is clearly not a murder case, and it shouldn't be a murder case. Should she suffer some kind of consequence? Of course she should. She broke the law but tell me what good a murder charge will do for her. Put her in jail for a couple years before she dies of natural causes anyway? I mean come on, give me a break.

  • Professor Aug 21, 2009



  • Professor Aug 21, 2009

    Its not murder.

  • Professor Aug 21, 2009

    It is not up to an individual to decide when to pass a stopped school bus with it's arm out and the lights flashing.

    Good comment. Some people think they do own the roads. This is why things tragically happen like this. Wonder how they would have felt if it had been their love one. They need to take her license forever.

  • jimmycrackcorn Aug 21, 2009


    I say murder because there are people that take chances such as this , passing stopped school buses, running red lights deliberately, not stopping at stops signs, speeding in 25 MPH zones...etc
    As long as you don't kill anybody doing something stupid like this, I consider it a moving violation.
    The moment your gamble fails and you run over innocents, you just murdered somebody. You had a premeditated thought to break the law and your decision cost someone their life.
    It is not up to an individual to decide when to pass a stopped school bus with it's arm out and the lights flashing.

  • Professor Aug 21, 2009

    "If the above statement is true, that girl was not looking

    Obviously you did not understand the article - it said the bus lights were flashing and stopped so it appears the lady driver was wrong.

  • Professor Aug 21, 2009

    The 86 years old lady should have to pay all of the expenses of the little girl including a head stone. Her license should be taken away for life.

  • leo-nc Aug 21, 2009

    "If the above statement is true, that girl was not looking where she was going, at all. Pedestrians bear some responsibility when crossing a road, such as looking before you do it."----

    THE SIX YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL had the right of way, period. The old lady ran the lights, period. End of story. Are we all from planet earth here? I'm beginning to have my doubts.

  • Xiaoding Aug 21, 2009

    Sorry if I'm repeating information, I have not all the comments.

    Here is a statement from a witness: "Waters said the Jeep slowed but did not stop, hitting and rolling over the child."

    He also estimated the speed of the Jeep at 20 mph.

    Now how, can anyone who is paying attention, get hit by a Jeep that is in full view, traveling at 20 mph? IMPOSSIBLE.

    If the above statement is true, that girl was not looking where she was going, at all. Pedestrians bear some responsibility when crossing a road, such as looking before you do it.

    This accident needs a lot more investigation before blame can be assigned.