Palestine Girl Run Over By School Bus - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/07/06-Palestine

Palestine Girl Run Over By School Bus

A six-year-old girl gets off the bus at her stop and as she walks in front of it the bus begins to move.  The girl was struck at the intersection of Larry Street and Lowe Street in Palestine. Police say there were six students who got off the bus at the location. KLTV 7 News found out exactly how something like this could happen.

"All I really heard was the boom part. And we looked up and there the baby was," said Shun Martin, a neighbor who says he ran to help Jurnee Foreman after she was struck by the school bus.

"The driver didn't even know until she got to the next street. She didn't even know she had ran over a child. She thought she ran over a dog," said Martin.

According to the police report, the front of the bus struck Jurnee and she hit the pavement. The bus drove over the child, but the wheels did not run over her.  Police say the driver stopped a few feet from where the child lay.

Palestine I.S.D. Superintendent Jerry Mayo says the driver was listening to a call coming into the school bus' two-way radio. "She was distracted by the fact that she was listening to what was going on in the monitor that was coming in from the transportation department about a lost child," said Mayo.

The driver of the school bus, Lee Ann Whisman, 50, has been a bus driver with Palestine I.S.D. for six years. "Mrs. Whisman had a perfect record with us. She is one of the top-notch drivers, safety wise. You couldn't ask for a better driver," said Palestine I.S.D. Transportation Supervisor Kathy Whitener.

"She shouldn't be able to drive a bus again. Even if her record is clear, that's safety.   You don't only have my niece in there. You have other kids," said Jurnee's aunt Tracey Foreman.

Superintendent Mayo says drivers are given an eight-hour safety training course at the beginning of the year. Because of Tuesday's incident, P.I.S.D. is going to have an agency review their procedures. "We're going to find out what went wrong and do our best to make sure it doesn't happen again," said Mayo.

For now, Whisman is suspended until the end of the investigation. Jurnee was flown to Dallas Children's Hospital. The crash broke her collar bone, leg, arm and a couple of fingers. Also, her liver was punctured. "She's not going to be able to finish up the school year. She's not going to be able to," said Tracey Foreman.

Palestine Police have not filed any charges against Whisman.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting. ortega@kltv.com

 

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