A teenage boy was struck by a school bus Thursday morning as he crossed a busy St. Paul intersection and severely injured.
The collision occurred about 7:15 a.m. at Maryland Avenue and Dale Street, said police spokesman Steve Linders. The 15-year-old, who has not been identified by authorities, was taken to Regions Hospital and remained in critical condition as of late Thursday.
Police said the boy, who attends nearby Como Park High School, suffered internal injuries.
Rick Hansen was drinking coffee on his girlfriend’s porch nearby when cars began stopping. He went to investigate, and found the boy under a school bus that stopped in mid-turn on Dale just south of Maryland.
“I ran over and just tried to keep him calm,” Hansen said. “He was conscious but not all there. I don’t think he knew what hit him.”
The boy was on Maryland crossing Dale westbound in the crosswalk when he was struck by a bus driven by a 50-year-old man, said Sgt. Mike Ernster, another police spokesman.
The boy was crossing on a green light.
The Hmong American Partnership (HAP) bus was making a left turn from Maryland onto southbound Dale on the green light when it struck the boy. The driver, who has not been publicly identified by authorities, is cooperating with investigators and showed no signs of being impaired by drugs or alcohol, police said.
“I believe this was avoidable,” Ernster said.
Bao Vang, president and CEO of HAP, issued a written statement that said, in part, “I would like to first express that our thoughts and prayers are with the student and his family, including all those who have been affected by this terrible accident. At this time, we are waiting for the police report to be released. Until then, we will not be making any further comments.”
Hansen and two women rushed to the boy’s side. The boy had blood around his temples and above his eyes, and his legs, which were under the bus but not pinned down, looked “broken, crushed,” Hansen said.
The boy thrashed around as if he wanted to get up, Hansen said, but the group tried to keep him still.
A woman, who declined to identify herself, tied two balloons to a post near where the bus came to rest after the collision, its tire skid marks still visible in the asphalt.
Another woman who stopped a few hours after the collision said she had come from Como Park High School, which was “chaotic,” and that the boy, her son’s friend, was on the school’s robotics team.
Neighbors said collisions are common at the intersection.
Tou Yang, who owns MC Auto Repair and Tire Services on the corner, said he’s seen about 15 collisions in the past three months. Yang said he was almost struck by a car last week while crossing Maryland on foot.
“This intersection’s really busy,” said neighbor Bob Mitchell. “I wish they’d put a turn signal here.”
Ernster urged drivers to be more cautious and aware of pedestrians, noting that nearly 50 pedestrians have been struck by cars in St. Paul this year.