Charges still uncertain after driver hits 5th-grader boarding school bus

5th grader hit by car boarding bus

FLORESVILLE, Texas -- A driver may only get a traffic ticket after hitting a fifth-grade boy as he was getting on his school bus in Floresville.

The 10-year-old, Jorge Leija Jr., was airlifted to University Hospital, where he was still recovering on Thursday.

The driver, who still hasn’t been identified, tried to pass the school bus as it was stopped with its lights flashing in the right lane of Hwy 181. According to DPS troopers on the scene, the driver tried to go around the bus on the right side on the shoulder of the road as Leija and his younger sister were boarding.

The department has not formally charged the driver as the investigation has not completed. It is likely that the driver will at least face a class C misdemeanor, or the equivalent of a traffic ticket, for passing the school bus. That comes with a maximum of $1,250 in fines.

According to DPS, there could be additional charges depending on what the investigation reveals and the severity of injuries to the victim. If the district attorney seeks charges for injury to a child, it could raise the penalty to a class A misdemeanor with up to $4,000 in fines and up to a year in jail.

CBS recently did an investigation into incidents like this one, spurned by a crash two weeks ago in which a seventh grader was hit getting off a school bus in Austin. They found that drivers illegally pass school busses more than 13 million times a year – killing eight kids a year on average.

Austin alone cited 6,600 people for driving around loading and unloading school busses in only four months, a problem their school district police chief called "shocking."

According to DPS, the driver in this case did stick around the scene and cooperated with law enforcement. Her identity will not be released until a crash report is completed.

KENS 5 has also requested security cam footage from the bus, but spokespeople with Floresville ISD say it may not be released until the investigation is completed.

According to Floresville ISD, Leija is expected to be released from the hospital Thursday evening.

(© 2016 KENS)


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