Local News

14-year-old girl killed at school bus stop near Garner

Posted March 25, 2013 8:07 a.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2013 6:35 p.m. EDT

— A 14-year-old girl was killed Monday morning at a school bus stop near Garner, a spokesman for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said.

Spokesman 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon said Maria Fernandez Jimenez was crossing N.C. Highway 50 – Benson Highway – near J.R. Drive shortly after 6:30 a.m. when she ran into the path of a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Witnesses said the bus, headed south, was nearing its stop when Jimenez crossed the road, Gordon said. Its amber lights were flashing, but its red lights were not, and its stop arm was not extended.

"We have two independent witnesses behind the bus that state the bus was not completely stopped, and the red lights were not out," Gordon said.

Renee McCoy, the Wake County Public School System's interim director of public relations, said the bus was headed to Garner Magnet High School, where Jimenez was in the ninth grade. 

Six students were on the bus at the time, Gordon said. The girl's 16-year-old brother was with her at the time and was just a few steps behind her.

"Of course, everybody here is shook up, rightfully so," Gordon said. "Anytime you have a child (who gets struck and dies), it affects everybody from the law enforcement to the community to the school and, more importantly, to the parents." 

Neither speed nor alcohol were factors in the wreck, he said, but it was still dark at that time in the morning.

"That's one of the factors we're looking at," Gordon said.

Although authorities don't expect to file charges in the case, Gordon said the case is a good reminder for drivers to pay attention to their surroundings whenever they see a school bus.

Crisis counselors were on hand at Garner Magnet High School to help students cope, McCoy said.