Leslie Rice was filling in for another school bus driver on Friday.
But he always did that.
Seconds after he delivered Kaylee Renee Derks safely to her bus stop on Ann Road at Pebble Rock Drive that afternoon, Rice continued on the route. He pulled onto Pebble Rock, navigating the numerous cars that lined both sides of the street.
He made an immediate right, onto Fall Cliff Road.
As Rice made the turn -- a wide right turn, to avoid a vehicle parked on the corner, neighbors said -- Kaylee went into the street. She was crushed by the bus, which continued a few feet before stopping.
Kaylee, a fifth-grader at Allen Elementary School, was dead by the time ambulances arrived. And Rice, numerous witnesses said, was beyond grief.
When he got out of the bus, Rice threw down his cap and screamed, "Oh my God. Why? Why?" Chris Hamilton said.
"He was just a wreck," Judy Lupinski said.
Clark County School District officials said Monday that Rice, 46, was a full-time bus driver whose job was to fill in for other drivers during their days off. He passed a drug and alcohol test at the scene, and he has never had an accident in his six years as a driver for the district.
"As of now, this looks like a tragic accident," district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson said.
Hamilton, who was picking up his son -- a friend of Kaylee -- said he witnessed the crash.
"We're all to blame," he said quietly.
He said Rice might have been looking to his left instead of his right when he made the turn, that Kaylee ran into the street, and that, as parents, everyone at the scene should have done more to protect the children.
Hamilton said he will accept a district offer to provide counseling for him and his son.
Las Vegas police are investigating the accident, but a spokesman could not be reached for comment.
District officials said Monday that they've changed the route the bus follows after it makes its stop. The bus travels west on Ann, stopping at Pebble Rock.
After the stop, the bus has to turn around to head east on Ann. Rice, on Friday, was following the district's route, which had him driving through the neighborhood to make a U-turn.
That bus stop will not be moved, Fulkerson said, but the bus will now avoid the neighborhood and head west on Ann before turning around in a commercial center.
District officials did not say the route through the neighborhood was dangerous. Instead, they said they were changing it out of respect for the family and the community.
In the days and hours after Friday's accident, several people in the neighborhood described the bus stop as chaotic and dangerous. Parents waiting to pick up their children lined both sides of the street. Some of the vehicles may have been parked illegally, Fulkerson said.
"It was something that was going to happen, sooner or later," said Elizabeth Clawson, 60, who lives on the corner where Kaylee was struck.
Fulkerson confirmed that the stop had been subject to two complaints. In January 2009, a parent asked for the bus stop to be moved onto a private street, and not on Ann, which has three lanes in each direction, plus a center lane .
The district investigated the request the next day but decided they couldn't get around the district's policy of not having bus stops on private streets, Fulkerson said. The district has the policy in place because of issues surrounding gated neighborhoods, noise complaints from neighbors and complaints of vandalism. The district makes exceptions for buses that carry children with special needs.
The second complaint about the bus stop came from the Desert Creek neighborhood homeowners' association. A resident complained of children throwing rocks in their pool, Fulkerson said.
The number of complaints about the bus stop is not unusual, she added.
On Monday afternoon the stop was much different than it has been in the past: aside from vehicles belonging to the news media, the streets were clear of cars.
"It never looks like this," Lupinski said.
Only six children, including Maria Skelton's daughter, a classmate of Kaylee, got off the bus at the stop. Skelton, who walks to the stop to pick up her daughter, said there are normally far more children on the bus. And the parents who park along the streets sometimes don't get out of their cars to get their children.
Fulkerson said the district has provided counseling for students at Allen Elementary.
"We are parents before being district officials," Fulkerson said, "and we know that there are no words adequate enough to express our sympathies to the Derks family."
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.