A 9-year-old Florida boy was killed after crawling under a moving school bus
A 9-year-old Florida boy died after crawling under a moving school bus that had just dropped him off at his stop.
The Orange County Public Schools bus was stopped at a roundabout on Tuesday when Elias Marshall Rodriguez, 9, got out, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release. The bus driver had started driving again to continue around the roundabout after Elias got off, according to the highway patrol.
As the driver drove away, Elias, of Orlando, “ran back” and “crawled under” the bus, the statement said. The highway patrol said the rear tire “hit” the boy, killing him.
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the manner of death an accident and the cause of death traumatic brain injury.
The highway patrol said the crash remains a “very active traffic homicide investigation.” The 54-year-old driver, whose identity has not been publicly released, remained at the scene, the Highway Patrol said.
A highway patrol spokesman said NBC affiliate WESH The agency is still working to determine why the boy crawled under the bus.
Elias was a student at Lawton Chiles Primary School.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic death of one of our dear students who was involved in a bus accident late this afternoon,” Superintendent of Schools Maria Vasquez said in a statement Tuesday. “Losing a child in such a sudden and tragic way is extremely significant.” “Especially difficult for family and friends.”
Vasquez said counselors will be available in area schools for students and staff in need. She said the district is cooperating with the Highway Patrol’s investigation.
Elias’ cousin told WISH that the boy was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two years old, and that he was in recovery at the time of the accident. Elias just got his chemotherapy port last year, Trina Gayle said.
“He went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation because of how serious it was. So he’s been through a lot in his life,” Gayle told WESH.
Gayle said Elias’ mother knew something was wrong when he didn’t arrive home after school, so she went looking for him at the nearby playground and saw the aftermath of the accident.
“This was a senseless tragedy,” Gayle told WESH. “She will always have to deal with this pain.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com