The scene of a crash on Friday in North Bethesda that left a 17-year-old Walter Johnson High School student in critical condition. Credit: Photo by Caitlynn Peetz

Police and school district officials have not released any updates about a teenager critically injured Friday while crossing the street to board his school bus in North Bethesda.

Eyal Haddad, a 17-year-old senior at Walter Johnson High School, was crossing Montrose Road near the road’s intersection with Bargate Court on Friday. He was trying to board a school bus stopped with its flashing lights on and stop sign extended, indicating students were getting on and off the bus.

Authorities have said Haddad was hit by a Jeep Renegade driven by 61-year-old Reine Ngoumou Nee Nganzeu of Rockville. Haddad was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries, authorities said Friday.

A police spokesman and school district spokesman on Tuesday both said they were unsure of Haddad’s condition. No local hospital could confirm Haddad as a patient.

Haddad’s injury came the day after a fourth-grader at Bradley Hills Elementary School was fatally struck by a school bus in Bethesda.

The 9-year-old girl, whose identity has not been released, had gotten off the bus, but for an unknown reason ran back toward it, then the bus hit her, police said.

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All MCPS school buses are outfitted with cameras that capture still images and video of cars that pass them while the bus is loading or unloading children. Police said Friday that they would review bus camera footage as part of the investigation into both cases.

Friday’s crash on Montrose Road happened at an unsignalized, mid-block crosswalk, meaning there are no flashing lights or signals directing drivers to stop. The crosswalk is painted on the road, with a median between the east and westbound lanes. In the median are two neon yellow signs that tell motorists to stop for pedestrians crossing the road.

Capt. Tom Jordan, a police department spokesman, said charges had not been filed against the driver and the investigation could last several weeks.

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Superintendent Jack Smith has been vocal about his frustration with motorists who pass school buses stopped to pick up or drop off students.

At a recent press conference before the latest two incidents, Smith said he was “sad and upset and angry” about the number of drivers who commit the violation each day.

“For heaven’s sake, folks, pay attention to those big yellow buses, because if you see a bus, it’s highly likely that there are students in the vicinity,” Smith said. “It needs to stop. All students need to be kept safe.”

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Last school year, four John F. Kennedy High School students were hit by a vehicle while waiting for their school bus on Georgia Avenue. A 15-year-old boy sustained life-threatening injuries in that crash, but survived.

After the crash, county politicians and state Department of Transportation officials lowered the speed limit on the stretch of road where the crash occurred from 45 mph to 35 mph.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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