Two children are dead after a tractor-trailer truck hit them as they were crossing the road to get on the school bus in Buckingham County Thursday morning.
Virginia State Police confirm that the crash happened at about 7:45 a.m. on Route 15 near Baptist Union Road in Dillwyn.
Both Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, died at the scene.
State Police are still investigating the incident.
Route 15 is now reopened to traffic after previously being closed for the investigation.
(WRIC) 5-year-old victim, Tori Perez is pictured above. Image courtesy of family and friends. Out of respect for the family’s wishes, we are not sharing pictures of Jaiden.
8News’ Jonathan Costen spoke with a representative from the Virginia State Police who said that no charges are being filed at this time.
The representative said that the incident happened when both the bus and the tractor-trailer were traveling in opposite directions on Route 15. As the bus was slowing down to stop, the two young children ran out in front of the tractor-trailer.
Police reported that the bus’s stop sign was not deployed at that point, and as a result, there was very little time for the truck to stop. State Police said that the truck was loaded down with 75,000 pounds of mulch.
Meanwhile, when the bus driver realized that the truck could not stop, she motioned for the children to go back, but they were unable to get out of the way in time.
Photo courtesy WRIC
8News also spoke with a man who said he was Jaiden’s grandfather. The man said that Tori and Jaiden were cousins.
Officials from their school said that they were both in kindergarten at the Buckingham County Primary School.
The school’s superintendent said that he estimates about 20 kids were on the bus at the time of the accident.
He also said that grief counselors are at the school working with children and employees on an individual basis.
“The community, schools and local clergy have been deployed at all levels of the school system to work through this tragedy with children and employees. The superintendent wants everyone to keep us in their prayers during these times,” representatives said in a statement.
For now, the school has not yet decided if they will cancel or reschedule the day’s activities.
The superintendent also reported that there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the community.