A five-year-old boy being dropped off by a school bus on U.S. Highway 290 was treated for non-life threatening injuries after being struck by an 18-wheeler on Tuesday afternoon.
Around 4:15 p.m., an Elgin ISD school bus was stopped in the outside lane of the westbound on Highway 290, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesperson Sergeant Dane Baker said on Tuesday evening. The child was being dropped off at his residence, near the mobile home park located half a mile west of the intersection with FM 696.
The flashing lights on the bus were activated, and the stop sign was extended. Whether on a city street or a highway, when school buses are stopped and their stop sign is out, all vehicles near the bus must stop. However, vehicles travelling in the opposite direction on the other side of a division of the road, such as the median between Elgin and FM 696, are not required to stop.
As the child started to exit the bus, the bus driver held the child back for a moment and looked in the mirror to make sure that traffic had come to a stop before allowing the child to exit, according to video footage from the school bus.
A truck-tractor semi-trailer was also traveling westbound on Highway 290. The driver of the truck was unable to stop in time, taking evasive action to avoid the bus by driving into the ditch between the bus and the child’s residence. Since the child was exiting the bus and heading towards his residence, the front of the truck avoided the bus but struck the child.
The child was transported to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin by helicopter with non-life threatening injuries. The parents of the child were on scene. The driver of the truck stayed on the scene. The vehicle sustained some damage after driving into the drainage ditch on the side of the road.
The incident is still under investigation. DPS does not know yet if the truck driver saw the child exiting the bus.
Baker said if a truck is out of control, the driver would usually try to drive into a ditch rather than into oncoming traffic.
“You have to weigh your options in a real quick second,” he said.
Baker added there is a minor sight restriction due to a hill near the incident, but a commercial vehicle is more elevated than in a normal vehicle, giving drivers of commercial vehicles a better line of sight.
It was unknown at the time what the conditions were on the road near Elgin at the time of the incident.
The westbound lanes of Highway 290 were shut down for most of the time between the incident and after 7 p.m.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.