Driver Of UA Bus That Struck Child Still Employed, Not Driving

bus-hits-boy

The driver of a University of Arkansas Razorback Transit bus that struck a 7-year old boy on Feb. 15 is still employed by the transit system but is not currently driving any routes, a university spokesman said this week.

The bus, driven by Christina Razinha, 26, was traveling 10 mph over the speed limit when the incident happened, but the driver did not receive a speeding ticket or any other traffic citation from investigating police officers, according to a Fayetteville Police Collision Report.

Because it is a personnel matter, the university cannot disclose whether the driver isn’t handing any routes because she has chosen not to drive or the system has removed her from the road, said spokesman Steve Voorhies on Friday (Feb. 28). The accident is being evaluated by the university, he said.

The bus was going 35 mph in a 25 mph zone at 573 N. Betty Jo Drive when the child, Michael J. Lewallen, ran onto the street, according to the police report. The speed limit was posted.

The boy received “severe tissue damage to both legs” when the front left wheel of the bus ran over his legs. The bus stopped before the back wheel could run over him, the report states.

Video shot from an on-board camera shows the bus was traveling 10 mph above the speed limit, according to the report. (The image pictured with this story, copied from the on-board camera, shows the child entering the street moments before he was struck.)

Speed was listed as a “contributing factor in the collision,” the report states. However, the boy “is shown to be primarily at fault for not yielding to traffic when crossing the roadway.”

The decision to issue a traffic citation is at the officer’s discretion, said Sgt. Craig Stout, police department spokesman.

The responding officer is listed on the report as Cpl. Christopher Clardy.

The boy was taken to Washington Regional Medical Center and later flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where he underwent surgery, officials said.

Michael received no broken bones or internal injuries but had damage to skin and muscle tissue, said his stepfather, Daniel Zalsman.

Authorities at the site of the accident told 5NEWS the boy was playing chase with other children and ran onto the street.

“The bus honked its horn,” Sgt. Shannon Gabbard said. “The child recognized the bus was coming and tried to get out of the way and run back into the yard but just wasn’t quick enough.”

10 comments

  • Poor bus driver!

    Speeding or not, this kid deliberately ran out in front of a moving bus! What did he expect to happen? I hope he learns a lesson from this since clearly his parents never taught him anything useful.

    • dmitche

      This is true, albeit sad. If you were speeding and I pulled out in front of you, causing an accident, it would be my fault.

      I hope the impending court case or settlement recognizes this.

      • speed kills

        Not necessarily, My mom made a left turn in to on coming traffic and a guy on a motorcycle struck her passenger side door and went flying over the car. But the motorcylce rider was ticketed because he was speeding according to witnesses! Even though ( just between you and me) her vision isn’t very good anymore and played a factor in the accident. But the speeder got the ticket in this case.

  • mis

    I don’t care if it was one of us we would of went to jail got a ticket for speeding n other charges I feel sorry for the boy n hope he recovers soon wat if it was y’all child playing a game n a speeding driver hits them how would u feel???? Uh id feel stupid mad n wanna whoop someone. Fact of the matter a child was hit by a speeding driver

  • atc8824

    I agree that the parents should have been paying more attention.I live on a busy road and I know not to let my children play out front because even though the speed limit is 25 they drive 45-55 on this road.I was told if my child runs in the road in front of a car that is not the drivers fault because there are no crosswalks or pedestrian crossing signs.

  • bob

    There is a lot of what if’s. What if the driver had not been speeding, would the boy had time to get out of the way? Who knows! We just need to pray for all involved to heal and pray lessons were learnt from this accident. My mother had an incident similar to this many years ago. Even though the child was not injured, my mother almost had nervous break down thinking about hurting a child. Then a few years later saved a small child from drowning in a public pool where other parents were not watching their kids. My mother could not swim a lick but sacrificed her life to save another. GOD works in mysterious ways!

  • happy happy happy

    Unfortunately when the attorney that the parents will undoubtedly hire gets through with this woman and drags the case out for a few years she will wish she had never driven any kind of vehicle. I hope the University stands behind her and provides an attorney for her. She will need one.

  • Mark Capalbo, father and grandfather

    Speed may have contributed to this accident and that certainly should be considered, but what about the adult supervision. What about the parent who allowed the boy to attend this birthday party? Did they take time to understand the environment they were leaving him in or the character of the person they were leaving him with? These questions need to be asked and investigated. Like it or not, whether it is convienent or not, adults who bring children into this world are responsible for them in everyway until they can be responsible for themselves. When two adults bring a child into this world there own personal needs and or desires must take a back seat to the needs of the child or children. They did not ask to be born.

    • happy happy happy

      Amen brother….I make this statement everyday. In Crawford County alone there are 2000 grandparents (yes, 2000 this is not a typo) who have “had” to become guardians for their grandchildren and are rearing them. Such an unfortunate situation that has occurred because the parents chose their wants over the children’s needs.

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