An 11-year-old girl from Minneapolis who was hit by a car while getting off the school bus on May 3 remains in critical condition.
The young student, Shianne Dean, had to undergo two surgeries, but the swelling she had in her brain at the time of her admittance had gone down, according to multiple reports.
“She’s really a fun-loving little girl, always happy, dancing, moving around, smiling,” Shianne’s mother, Latonya Williams told Fox9. “My baby can’t do any of that right now.”
— KARE 11 (@kare11) May 6, 2019
Shianne was getting off the bus on Friday afternoon when she was hit by a suspected drunken driver who came around the bus. Williams was at home when her daughter was hit, and a bus aide rushed up to the house to inform Williams what was going on.
Star Tribune reported that the 60-year-old drunken driver who passed the bus said he didn’t stop because he didn’t see the bus arm.
“I was sitting in the living room, and the bus aide ran up the doorway with her sister, her sister was hysterical—screaming and hollering,” Shianne’s uncle, Leroy Gillum, told ABC 6 News.
By the time Williams made her way to where the commotion was located, she heard the children calling out Shianne’s name, according to WCCO.
“Shianne went across the street and, I guess, he came from around the bus and struck and hit her,” the girl’s mother told Fox 9. “When he hit her, she flew up into the air and came back down and my baby hadn’t talked since. She hasn’t opened her eyes since.”
Shianne’s mother stayed at her daughter’s side and told WCCO that she did what she could to keep her daughter conscious.
“And I’m like, ‘Shianne, look at mommy, look at mommy, don’t close your eyes,’ you know, ‘look at mommy,'” Williams said. “Because I didn’t want her to close her eyes.”
Spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, John Elder, said that when the officers arrived on to the scene, they found Shianne on the sidewalk, with a number of people offering help to the critically-injured little girl. Elder also added that many people pointed to the 60-year-old man who had struck the little girl, and told the officers that he was the one behind the wheel when the student was struck.
According to ABC 6, the force of the impact smashed the windshield on the 60-year-old man’s car, and officers talked to the man on the scene of the incident. Officers there came to the conclusion that the man operating the car might be under the influence of alcohol when it happened.
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) May 6, 2019
Soon after, the ambulance arrived and took the unconscious 11-year-old and her mother to North Memorial Hospital, where she had emergency surgery, primarily due to swelling in the little girl’s brain.
“She’s a fighter,” Williams told WCCO. “It ain’t time for her to go yet. She’s coming home.”
Although the swelling had gone down, doctors told the family that Shianne still has a long way to go until full recovery or even regaining consciousness.
The driver of the car, Gregory Garth, failed a sobriety test and was immediately arrested, although he was not formally charged. ABC 6 reported that Garth was booked in the Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of criminal vehicular operation, and he had previously acquired a third-degree DUI charge back in 2018.
The bus belonged to the Monarch Bus Service, and the Minneapolis police is investigating whether the bus arm was out at the time of the crash. According to Minnesota law, both the stop signal arm and the flashing red light signals are required to be used together when children are getting on or off the bus at either the street or on highways.
Shianne’s school doesn’t have a board-approved bus policy, but it does review safety guidelines with their contracted workers, according to Fox 9. The school gave their condolences in a statement, writing, “This dear student is in our thoughts as is her family and the Stonebridge community stands ready to do what we can to support the family, our students and staff during this time.”
According to the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation, there are over 100,000 violations a year for stop arm signals, reported Fox 9, but violators rarely get prosecuted by the courts.