MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Police say an 11-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was struck by a car while exiting her school bus Friday in Minneapolis. A driver was arrested in connection to the crash.
The 60-year-old Brooklyn Park man is in custody for criminal vehicular operation. Police say they believe the driver was drinking before the crash. He told police the stop arm was not out on the bus, so he tried to pass it. Authorities are investigating whether the stop arm was out at the time of the incident.
"This bears a very good reminder to us that whether a bus is pulled over on the side of the road and whether the stop arm is out or not, we need to take extra care around buses. They involve children, and if it is stopped, it's probably because of a child," said John Elder, with Minneapolis police.
The girl, identified as 11-year-old Shianne Dean, was hit around 5 p.m. at 23rd Avenue and Penn Avenue where police found her on the sidewalk.
Her mother, LaTonya Williams, said she was at home when it happened. The aide on the bus ran to her house to tell her about the incident.
"By the time I ran down, I can hear all the kids say, 'Shianne, Shianne,' and all I can do is see my daughter laying there with her eyes rolling in the back of her head," Williams said.
An ambulance rushed Williams and her daughter to North Memorial Hospital, where she had multiple surgeries due to brain swelling. The doctors didn't think she would make it through the night, but her family never lost hope.
"She's a fighter," Williams said. "It ain't time for her to go yet. She's coming home."
Since Friday night, the swelling in her brain has gone down and her family says she is doing better, but she still has a long way to go.
Shianne's 9-year-old little sister witnessed the incident.
"She said 'Mommy, (the driver) was coming really fast. And he hit my sister. She flew up in the air and came down,'" Williams said.
As Williams tries to explain what happened to Shianne to her youngest daughter, she still is trying to make sense of it herself. Her family helps her get through each day.
"My sisters, my family, all the support, from everyone. All the prayers. That's what's getting me through this right now," Williams said.
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