An 11-year-old boy was fighting for his life Monday after he was struck by a vehicle while crossing a busy St. Paul street on his way to school.
Bikram Phuyel was in a coma Monday night after undergoing brain surgery at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, according to a family member.
The accident occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on Rice Street at Hoyt Avenue in the city’s North End, leaving the boy in critical condition, said Sgt. Paul Paulos, spokesman for the St. Paul police.
“This is just a bad accident today,” Paulos said.
Two vehicles were heading north on Rice, Paulos said. When the first one slowed for the boy, the trailing vehicle went around to pass it and struck the boy. The driver was cooperative and did not show signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Paulos said.
Bikram was walking to Washington Technology Magnet School with his 17-year-old brother and a cousin when he was hit, said Jaga Chapagain, Bikram’s cousin. They were a short distance behind him when the accident happened, Chapagain said.
Chapagain found out about the accident when the cousin returned home screaming and crying, he said. Chapagain said there should be a school crossing guard and a slower speed limit posted at the intersection to accommodate the school kids who cross there.
“Every day they walk to school,” Chapagain said.
St. Paul School District officials said they were in contact with Bikram’s family and that counselors would be available to the family and students.
Investigators will determine where exactly Bikram was crossing when he was hit, Paulos said.
State law prohibits drivers from passing vehicles that have stopped at an intersection to allow pedestrians to cross. The state Department of Public Safety advises drivers to stop far enough back so that drivers in other lanes can also see pedestrians in time to stop.