Mulch Truck Killed Two Children Who Approached School Bus in Buckingham County, VA

We were shocked and saddened to read about a tragic incident in rural Virginia in which a mulch truck killed two children as they ran for their school bus.

The tragedy was reported in on U.S. 15 in Dillwyn early Thursday. State police said a tractor-trailer carrying 75,000 pounds of mulch hit and killed two young children as they ran into the road to meet their school bus.

Dillwyn is a small incorporated town in Buckingham County, Virginia. A report in the New York Daily News stated six kids were at a school bus stop early Thursday. When two of them saw their school bus approach, they ran across the northbound lanes of the road, reports said.

Virginia State Police say a tractor-trailer was traveling northbound at the same time. The driver was coming down a hill and tried unsuccessfully to stop. He struck the kids aged 5 and 6, according to State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

U.S. 15 in Dillwyn where truck killed two children

Truck killed two children onU.S. 15 in Dillwyn

The mother of the five-year-old girl Sabrina Green told the Richmond-Times Dispatch that she saw the child lying on the side of the road after hearing about the accident. The two children were cousins.

The Times-Dispatch report said the school bus was approaching with its flashing yellow lights on when the children appear to have become excited and ran into the roadway. The school bus driver had not yet activated its red lights and stop sign, Geller said.

Skid marks were visible on the pavement from the top of the hill to the bus stop, indicating the truck driver applied his brakes.

Media reports said no charges are expected to be brought against the 66-year-old truck driver.

Our deepest condolences go out to these two families at their time of loss. Although it appears unlikely that the truck driver will be charged, this accident raises some disturbing questions.

Questions After Mulch Truck Killed Two Children in Buckingham County

A report by Virginia State Police’s Motor Carrier Safety Unit found several equipment violations on the tractor-trailer. However, state police said none of them affected the truck’s ability to stop or avoid a crash, Geller. The tractor-trailer has been placed out of service.

The bus stop requires children to cross U.S. 15 to get onto their bus. It’s a stretch of road with a 55 mph speed limit, according to the Times-Dispatch. This seems to be a hazardous set up. At rural bus stops like this, approaching drivers should be warned of their presence by school bus signs.

Although the truck driver did not commit a violation because the bus had not stopped and put on its red lights and stop sign, it had activated its flashing yellow lights as an indicator it would be stopping.

If it was common knowledge that there is a school bus stop in this location, drivers with that knowledge should slow down and take precautions. Although adults who unexpectedly step into the road have few rights if they are hit and injured, drivers must assume children will not always behave rationally and anticipate it.

The fact a driver was not charged with a criminal offense does not mean the family of someone who loses their life is barred from filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

We issued a series of school bus safety tips last week when a child was hit by a school bus in Portsmouth. Please take care in and around school bus stops. If you or a loved one was involved in an accident with a truck in Virginia, please call our trucking accident injury team at (757) 455-0077.

John Cooper

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