A 9-year-old girl lost her foot and is fighting to keep her leg after an illegal passing incident in Belle Chasse, Louisiana.
A preliminary investigation by Louisiana State Police Troop B revealed that a school bus was stopped on Oct. 6 in the northbound lane of LA Hwy 23 with the stop-arm extended and flashing lights activated. While stopped, the 9-year-old girl, identified by a local news station as Isabella Castanza, exited the bus and was walking away from the roadway.
During this time, 61-year-old Gregory Valentine, driving a 1989 Ford dump truck, failed to stop behind the school bus. Valentine reportedly swerved to the right shoulder to avoid the school bus and struck Castanza. Castanza suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
A GoFundMe page organized for the girl’s family stated that as of Oct. 7 she was in stable condition but her foot was amputated. The doctors are doing everything to try and save her leg, the post stated.
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Meanwhile, Valentine submitted a voluntary blood sample but police said he is not suspected of driving impaired. Still, a standard toxicology test is pending.
According to a press release, Valentine was charged with negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, and driving with a suspended license. The crash remains under investigation.
“Louisiana State Police would like to remind motorists of the importance of remaining alert and undistracted while driving,” the press release stated. “Taking your eyes away from the roadway for just a short time can result in life-changing events. We would also like to remind motorists to remain aware of school buses, especially as they are picking up and dropping off children. Louisiana law prevents any vehicle from passing or overtaking a stopped school bus with the visual signs activated and has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children. Vehicles are also required to stop at least thirty feet from the school bus and shall not proceed until the bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated.”