An 84-year-old woman was struck and killed by a school bus in Fortuna, 20 miles south of Eureka..
Fatal pedestrian accident: School district officials announced on Wednesday that a school bus driver was placed on leave after she struck and killed an 84-year-old woman in a Fortuna crosswalk, about 20 miles south of Eureka.
• A school bus transporting 18 elementary school children turned left at an intersection and struck an elderly pedestrian in the crosswalk.
• The bus completely ran over the pedestrian, with both the front and rear tires.
• The victim died at the scene.
Fortuna Union High School District Superintendent Glen Senestraro said 60-year-old driver Helen Belloni has been placed on leave after the accident, according to an article in the Eureka Times-Standard.
The accident occurred on Tuesday at 7:39 a.m., the California Highway Patrol accident report stated.
CHP officer Paul Dahlen said Belloni was turning left from School Road onto Rohnerville Road when she struck 84-year-old Audrey McRoberts in a crosswalk. McRoberts, who lived with her son close to the scene of the accident, was out for her daily morning walk.
The left side of the bus struck McRoberts and then completely ran over her with both the front and rear tires, Deputy County Coroner Roy Horton said.
”The entire weight of the school bus went over her,” Horton told the Times-Standard.
The victim died at the scene.
Why Belloni did not see the McRoberts is not clear. At least 10 people witnessed the accident, CHP officials said. Some of them said McRoberts was in Belloni’s blind spot, but others said the victim was in plain sight. The CHP report said McRoberts was inside of the crosswalk.
“It’s a terrible, terrible accident,” Dahlen told the Times-Standard.
Dahlen said neither drugs nor alcohol were involved. Belloni was not arrested at the scene. Dahlen said it will be up to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office to decide whether they want to file vehicular manslaughter charges against her.
Both the victim and the school bus driver were well-loved members of the community. The tragic accident has been devastating to the school and the entire community, officials said. Counseling services were offered to students affected by the accident.
”We sent a team of psychologists and counselors to the schools,” Humboldt County Office of Education Assistant Superintendent Richard Hanger told the Times-Standard. “Services were offered throughout that immediate area.”
There were 18 elementary school students on the bus at the time of the accident. No one was injured.
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