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ST. JAMES SCHOOL BUS HITS CHILD IN FATAL ACCIDENT

By Leonard Gray and Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / March 16, 1998

CONVENT – A 21-month old boy was struck and killed Tuesday by a school bus in the Convent Housing Project.

Geraldine Young, a 19-year bus driver in the St. James Parish public schoolsystem and a special-education bus driver for 12 years, was bringing children home at 3 p.m. when she turned down Rev. Thomas Scott Street.St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin Jr. said Young stopped at a residenceto drop off a child, and as was usual practice she blew the bus’s horn to call the child’s mother out to retrieve her child.

When the mother did not appear Young continued down the street, U- turned, went back to the location and blew the horn again.

Neighbor Althea Scott came out, walked in front of the bus to the bus’s door and took charge of the student, holding the child’s hand.

As Scott spoke briefly to the driver, Young and her bus began to move forward. However, unknown to anyone, Scott’s toddler son, Lorenz, hadcome out in search of his mother and stepped into the bus’s path.

The child was struck and killed at the scene.

“It was a pretty bad scene,” Martin said. “It was a freak accident.”St. James deputies administered CPR until the arrival of an AcadianAmbulance crew, which took charge and transported the child to St. JamesParish Hospital in Lutcher.

Walter Landry, area supervisor for maintenance and operation for St.

James Parish Schools, said the special-education buses travel from school to school then bring the students home after the buses are fully loaded.

“With special ed we do multiple schools,” Landry said. “First Gramercy,Lutcher Elementary and then Paulina – something like that.”Young had three other children on the bus at the time of the accident. Onceword of the accident spread, the children were picked up while the bus remained at the scene during the investigation by the St. James Sheriff’sOffice and the Louisiana State Police.

Martin said State Police were called in at his request.

Alcohol nor any illegal substance was not a factor in the accident, Martin added, and Young was not charged with any crime.

Landry added Young used to drive a 60-passenger bus then switched to the 18-passenger special education buses 12 years ago.

“She’s one of my best drivers,” Landry said. “I’ve been knowing her since Icame to the central office in 1980.”

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