OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City police are searching for the driver of a car that broadsided a special needs school bus Tuesday morning, then ran from the scene.
That bus was carrying seven North Highland Elementary 4th graders to school.
The accident, which happened near N.W. 89th St. and Classen Blvd. a few minutes before 8 a.m., injured three students and the bus driver.
Police said the driver of a white Chrysler Sebring ran a stop sign, slammed into the bus while speeding at nearly 50 miles an hour and then took off on foot.
The impact caused the bus to tip over on its side.
Three students and the bus driver were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
They were all treated and released later Tuesday.
The mother of one of the students on the bus, Sherri Seay, got the heart-stopping phone call shortly after the crash.
“(I was) scared and frightened because look at the bus, oh my God, It’s just horrible,” she said. “I hope they find whoever did it though, because they need to go to jail for that crap and then they’re just going to run off? C’mon. No.”
Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer said he was stunned at the impact while standing at the scene.
“There’s no reason to drive your car fast in a residential area, especially between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. in the morning,” Springer said. “We’ve got 150 school buses out every morning. This is unnecessary. This kind of action doesn’t need to happen. Please, please understand that driving fast in a residential area in the morning causes things like this to happen.”
Police said the only description of the suspect is a black female who ran from the scene with a backpack.
“They’re running for some reason,” criminal defense attorney Scott Harris said.
Harris said if that suspect had stayed at the scene of the accident, they would have received a traffic ticket.
But leaving the scene of an accident is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison.
However, he said a judge’s punishment could be even worse, especially if these special needs students were to testify.
“With children’s injuries, with special needs children’s injuries, I can’t imagine a worse victim to testify against my client in a case like this,” Harris said.
Harris said outstanding warrants and prior convictions can also play a role in hit-and-run convictions.
Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to call police.