Updated: Walter Johnson High Student Seriously Injured in North Bethesda Crash

Updated: Walter Johnson High Student Seriously Injured in North Bethesda Crash

He was crossing road to board school bus, police said

| Published:
Bus crash

A Walter Johnson High School student had life-threatening injuries Friday morning after he was hit by a car while waiting for his school bus.

Photo by Caitlynn Peetz

This story was updated at 4:39 p.m. Friday

A 17-year-old Walter Johnson High School student was seriously injured Friday morning after being struck by a vehicle in North Bethesda while crossing the street to board his school bus, according to Montgomery County Police.

Capt. Tom Jordan, a police spokesman, said Friday morning that at about 7:15 a.m., the boy was struck by a Jeep Renegade while crossing Montrose Road in a crosswalk at the intersection with Bargate Court. He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, Jordan said.

The student was identified in a message to parents from a senior at Walter Johnson Principal Jennifer Baker as Eyal Haddad, a senior at the school.

The message, sent at 4 p.m., said Haddad remained in “serious condition” at a local hospital.

Jordan said the bus’s arm was out and its flashing lights were on, indicating the bus was stopped and loading students. He said police will review footage from the bus camera as part of the investigation.

Traffic was blocked in both directions on Montrose Road Friday morning and there was yellow caution tape around the scene of the crash.

The driver of the Jeep, 61-year-old Reine Ngoumou Nee Nganzeu, of Rockville, remained at the scene. Police said Friday morning charges had not been filed but were possible.

It is against the law for a vehicle to pass a stopped school bus with its stop arm extended and flashing lights activated. 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.

More than 54,000 tickets had been issued in Montgomery County through the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“Drivers really need to pay attention with the school buses. When they have the red light and stop arm out, you have to stop,” Jordan said. “This incident this morning is the exact reason we do this – the exact reason this law exists.”

MCPS spokesman Derek Turner said Friday morning that school district officials are “deeply concerned” by the crash. He said MCPS is urging community members to be more careful when driving.

“As a school system, we try to do our part through education and bus safety, but it’s not something we can do on our own,” Turner said. “We need … especially the community, that has been so great to this school district and care so deeply about our students, to show the same level of care when driving.”

Counselors and psychologists were available for students and staff who needed support.

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

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