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'Just come forward': Community reacts to Greenwood student struck by hit-and-run driver at bus stop

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Posted at 6:59 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 18:59:37-05

GREENWOOD — Neighbors and law enforcement are pleading for the hit-and-run driver police say struck a 14-year-old Greenwood High School student at his bus stop Thursday morning to turn themselves in.

"Do the right thing. Just come forward, the great thing about this for everyone involved, including the suspect, is that the child has minor injuries so this could be resolved very easily. We are going to continue to investigate and find out who did this," said Greenwood Police Chief James Ison.

"How can you do something like that; I mean what kind of person does something like that? You hit a small child and you leave? They might have been under stress themselves, and just freaked out and took off. If that happened then okay, but you need to turn yourself in. You need to let that family know that you actually do care by turning yourself in," said Deanna McFarland, who lives on the street where the crash happened.

Police say around 7 a.m. a driver in a black 4-door sedan struck the boy as he crossed the street near East Main and Meridian Streets in Greenwood. Police say the bus was stopped in the westbound lane with its cross arm out and flashing lights activated.

“When I got the call this morning, I was actually driving into work and my heart skipped a beat when the call came out," Ison said.

McFarland said she was sitting on her front porch when the crash happened.

“There was like God awful screams. I mean God awful screams,” she said.

The 14-year-old student is out of the hospital. The Greenwood Community School Corporation says he is doing well at home and the family was told by doctors it was a miracle he did not have any injuries.

“When they said he was stable, I kind of took a breath of relief. Then we just go into putting the pieces of the puzzle together and solving the criminal aspect of it," Ison said.

Police say it doesn't change the need for drivers to slow down and pay attention to what is going on around them.

“Think about how you would feel if you were speeding, or you were not paying the proper attention and you struck a child and hurt them severely or killed them," said Chief Ison.

Neighbors tell WRTV traffic is regular on East Main Street and the bus stops on the street around the same time every day.

“That’s awful. I mean how can somebody not see a school bus and knowing that when the sign is out children are either hopping on the bus or they are crossing the street to get on the bus, and as a mother it broke my heart,” said McFarland.

“We woke up to the bus horn, and obviously we heard a crash,” said Hannah Abell, who lives nearby.

The speed limit on E. Main Street is 25 mph, but police say that didn't slow down the driver down who ignored the stop sign before hitting the child.

“It’s just dangerous, a lot of people fly down this road. It’s just crazy that someone wouldn’t stop for the school bus,” said Joe Mann, who lives on East Main Street.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute says so far this year, 2,680 stop-arm violations have been issued by police officers across Indiana. Of those, 2,406 resulted in citations/warnings and 274 in misdemeanor violations.

"This is about child safety. We just want to reiterate that we just want to keep all of our children safe," Greenwood Community Schools Superintendent Terry Terhune said.

Police continue to review surveillance footage and say they are looking for a black midsize, 4-door sedan, with fresh front end damage.

"Do the right thing. For God’s sake you hit a child. You left,” said McFarland.

Counselors were available at Greenwood High School for students.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call the Greenwood Police Department at 317-882-9191. People can also anonymously make a report on the department's website.