WINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say two students were injured when they were hit by a car that failed to stop at bus stop Monday morning.
Michigan State Police said it happened around 7 a.m. on North Bailey Road near Yankee Road in rural Winfield Township, southeast of Morley.
Police said a Morley Stanwood school bus was pulled over on the side of the road facing north with its stop sign out and red lights activated when a 19-year-old driver heading south failed to stop.
Two students, identified by relatives as 19-year-old high school senior Kory Knapp and his 5-year-old niece, were hit by the car. Knapp’s mother told 24 Hour News 8 he got in front of his niece to protect her and took the brunt of the impact.
She said Knapp suffered a ruptured spleen and an injury to his knee, while the young girl suffered a concussion. They were both taken to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.
At a tow yard later Monday, 24 Hour News 8 found the car that was involved. Its windshield was smashed in, showing the violent impact.
The 19-year-old driver stopped after the crash, police said, but is not in custody and not being ID’d as authorities continue to investigate. It’s unclear when or if charges will be filed.
Morley Stanwood Community Schools Superintendent Roger Cole got word of the crash before school started.
“We automatically go to the worst-case scenario,” Cole recalled thinking.
He later learned the students involved would be OK.
“(It’s a) stone being lifted of your shoulders,” Cole said. “As it is with everybody else. We had staff that were emotional this morning.”
The ordeal, Cole said, is a scary reminder of the dangers of bus stops for drivers and kids, especially in such a rural district.
“Every time the bus comes up and stops, you watch the driver. She will wave you across, and then you move. And you still look left and right,” Cole said. “And if you’re a driver you see a bus, just look, look, look, look. Watch.
“When you come through something where maybe there’s a sigh of relief as opposed to a pile of grief, what we can reflect on?” he continued. “What can we do better?”
***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the older child hit was a 13-year-old boy, based on a report from Michigan State Police. Relatives later stated the boy is 19 years old.****