Girl Hit By Bus Has Surgery; Superintendent Speaks Out
The Bentonville superintendent spoke out Thursday for the first time since the school district released a report earlier this week on a bus accident that left a 17-year-old student hospitalized in critical condition.
Superintendent Michael Poore said a satellite transmission device showed a Bentonville school bus was traveling two miles over the speed limit just before it struck Megan Zandra Davis and launched her 30 feet at the intersection of 14th and P streets in Bentonville on Oct. 4.
The speed limit was 45 miles per hour.
Davis was rushed to Northwest Medical Center in Bentonville in critical condition before being airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo. Davis’ condition was upgraded to serious Monday.
Poore said bus driver Lisa Fitzner, 60, was distracted by a student moments before her bus hit Davis. A school district report said Fitzner looked into the mirror and turned to talk to a student just before the collision.
“There was something that happened with a student on the bus that made her turn to some degree,” Poore said. “How much she turned, what her response time was, is a part of that investigation. Those are things that the police are still trying to reconstruct as part of their ongoing investigation.”
Although the school district is waiting to see what local police’s investigation yields, Davis’ father Tom Davis is calling on school officials to institute new policies for future safety. He said the school district should put a second employee on the bus to monitor students so the driver can focus on driving.
Poore said buses are too full of students to fulfill Davis’ request, but that the school district is working to increase the number of cameras on buses. The bus that hit Megan Davis did not have a camera on it.
“A thing that allows us to just make sure that our drivers are acting appropriately and certainly we would like to have that be on 100 percent of our buses, and we are gradually adding those on, each and every year,” Poore said.
On the same day Poore sat down with 5NEWS, Davis was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair her shattered pelvis. Tom Davis said he feels no ill will toward the bus driver because of the accident.
Fitzner will remain on paid administrative leave until police complete their investigation, as is standard protocol.
Police released a statement Tuesday saying Davis crossed the street without a protected “Walk” signal, and the driver had a green light. An eyewitness refutes the police statement and told 5NEWS the traffic light facing the bus was red at the time of the accident.
The Bentonville Police Department released another statement Wednesday that said Tuesday’s statement was not meant to place blame on Davis for the incident. The accident is still under investigation, police said.
5NEWS has attempted to contact the bus driver and asked school officials for her contact information. The district has declined to provide that information.