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School bus strikes, kills toddler in North Las Vegas

A 2-year-old boy was struck and killed by a school bus Thursday afternoon in North Las Vegas, officials said.

The crash happened about 3:40 p.m. on the 600 block of Princess Avenue, near the intersection of Carey Avenue and Commerce Street, said Ann Cavaricci, a North Las Vegas police spokeswoman.

The toddler — who lived in the neighborhood — was in the street when he was struck, Cavaricci said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was unclear Thursday night what happened in the moments leading up to the crash, but the little boy’s family was at the scene that afternoon, behind the police tape.

Near the bus and underneath a tarp lay the boy’s tiny body.

At the time of the crash, there were other children on the bus, Michelle Booth, a Clark County School District spokeswoman said. The bus was leaving a nearby elementary school to drop off those children when it struck the child, and the students on board “were not injured.”

Booth did not name the school the bus was serving, but said its principal has “personally spoken to the parents of each student who was on the bus to determine if they need crisis response counselors.”

She wasn’t sure Thursday night whether any parents had requested the counselors, but said the district will have someone available for each family “if needed, like we always do.”

Neither the district nor police named the bus driver, who wasn’t injured but stayed at the scene.

After the crash, many off-duty bus drivers trickled in near the crash site, and a few told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they were there to support the driver involved.

It’s unclear whether the driver will face criminal charges. Cavaricci said speed, drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factors, and added the driver was cooperating fully.

The district released a statement soon after the crash:

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic accident that occurred involving our school bus,” it read. “CCSD is working in collaboration with the City of North Las Vegas Police Department, who is leading the investigation.”

Last year, a county school bus hit a pedestrian April 14 — the same date as Thursday’s crash — in the central valley. The collision near Lone Mountain Road and Rainbow Boulevard also happened about 3:40 p.m., but the pedestrian wasn’t gravely injured and no children were on the bus.

In 2011, a school bus rolled through a stop sign Nov. 3, striking a 16-year-old girl in a crosswalk and pinning her under the vehicle’s wheels. That also happened in North Las Vegas — near the intersection of Brooks Avenue and Berg Street — and the collision left the girl in serious condition.

In 1997, a 13-year-old boy was killed Feb. 27 near Von Tobel Middle School when he darted in front of a school bus toward his apartment complex and was struck, then dragged under a tire. The bus crash happened about 3:20 p.m. near Lake Mead Boulevard and Pecos Road, and the boy, Martell Massengale, a Von Tobel student, was pronounced dead at University Medical Center.

A woman who lives across the street from the site of Thursday’s crash, who declined to give her name, said she wasn’t sure why the toddler was outside, but said the neighborhood is quiet and filled with children who often play basketball or ride bikes in the street.

She said cars constantly speed through the neighborhood, adding that the roads need speed bumps.

“I knew someone would get hit someday,” she said. “But a school bus … that’s not right.”

This was the eighth fatal crash North Las Vegas has investigated this year.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Neal Morton contributed to this report. Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Find her on Twitter: @rachelacrosby

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