Updated: 9-Year-Old Dies after Being Struck by School Bus in Bethesda
Police are still investigating the cause of the crash
The intersection where the child was struck on Thursday evening.
This story was updated at 10:48 a.m. on Friday
A 9-year-old girl died Thursday night after being struck by a school bus near the intersection of Tanglewood Drive and Millwood Road in Bethesda.
The girl, who has not been publicly identified by police or the school district, was a fourth-grade student at Bradley Hills Elementary School, according to Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala.
Police received the initial call for the crash at 3:49 p.m., according to Officer Rick Goodale, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Police Department. Officers had cordoned off the intersection — in a residential neighborhood with no sidewalks along either road — within an hour after the crash occurred.
The girl was struck just feet away from one of the bus’s stops in the neighborhood.
Police determined that the MCPS school bus, driven by 53-year-old Serigne Makhtar Ndiaye of Severn, had turned right on Millwood Road from Tanglewood Drive after stopping at the intersection to unload several students, including the victim. It has not been determined if charges will be filed against the school bus driver.
An MCPS spokesman said Friday morning Ndiaye had been placed on administrative leave while the police investigate, which is standard procedure.
Students were on the bus at the time of the crash.
Neither Ndiaye nor any of the other students were injured in the collision, according to police.
Additional details were not available Friday morning, police spokesman Capt. Tom Jordan said.
“It’s still unclear what happened. It’s not making sense and we’re trying to make sense of it because it’s what we do, but there’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in it, as well,” Jordan said.
The nine-year-old was transported by ambulance from the scene to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., with “serious and traumatic injuries,” according to Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Services. She died at the hospital.
Police collision reconstructionists initially decided not to investigate the scene, which generally means that a victim’s injuries are non-life-threatening, Goodale said. But at roughly 8:30 p.m., medical personnel confirmed that the girl died at the hospital.
Reconstructionists will continue to investigate the scene to determine the cause of the collision, Goodale said.
Michael Sullivan, 67, a resident on Millwood Road, said it was still light outside when the girl was struck. He was inside his house at the time, but came out a few minutes later when he noticed the bus parked at an odd angle on the street.
Ndiaye had immediately called 911, Sullivan said.
The driver told neighbors that he had stopped at the same corner of the intersection as he did every day, and the girl had gotten off the bus with a group of other students, according to Sullivan. When the driver turned at a corner of Tanglewood Drive and Millwood Road, he felt the bus hit something.
“This little girl was not where he thought she was,” Sullivan said. “He was very distraught.”
Sullivan, who saw the victim before she was taken to the hospital, said that the girl’s face was bloody but she was able to move her legs.
He added that sidewalks had been added to Glenbrook Road — another residential street a few blocks away — years earlier, but none had been added on his street.
Some neighbors on Glenbrook had opposed the sidewalk construction, Sullivan said, but he thought it would be a good thing for the neighborhood.
“There’s a lot of foot traffic here,” he said. “A lot of people running and pushing baby carriages. So, I think sidewalks would be a positive development.”
In a message to Bradley Hills families on Friday morning, Principal Karen Caroscio said the school community is “heartbroken by this tragic news.”
Additional counselors and psychologists were at the school Friday to help students and staff cope, according to MCPS spokesman Derek Turner.