OKLAHOMA CITY - New details are emerging about the moment an Oklahoma City police officer hit a 13-year-old girl while driving his squad car, all as that girl ran across the street in front of a bus she was set to ride.
Police and Oklahoma City Public Schools confirmed the school bus stop sign was not extended when the incident happened in front of Wheeler Middle School on Saturday morning.
For that reason, the officer could not see the girl just before she ran out in front of his car.
The reality is this could have turned out much worse.
“We're just so grateful that everything turned out the way that it did and she's OK,” Oklahoma City Public Schools Director of Communications Courtney Morton said. “It was an unfortunate incident.”
The girl is now home safe from the hospital.
“The student was taken to the hospital. She's doing great,” Morton said. “She was released later that evening.”
Officials say the girl suddenly crossed the street when she saw her mom pull up nearby.
She and fellow students were on their way to a weekend sports competition.
“The bus was just parked along the curb line and did not have any flashers or any type of emergency equipment activated at the time,” Sgt. Megan Morgan, with the Oklahoma City Police Department, said.
The officer had pulled around the bus and crossed the center line to pass, which is when he struck the girl.
Many are now asking: Why wasn’t the school bus' stop sign extended when the girl ran across the road?
As it turns out, the bus wasn’t turned on, which means the stop sign couldn’t be extended.
It had been sitting for more than half an hour as students got on and off, preparing for their trip.
Morton says the driver of the bus shows that this is a teachable moment that could lead to a new policy, like requiring buses to leave their flashers on when turned off and parked if students are loading.
News 4 has also learned that the officer saw the girl’s mother jump out of her car in shock when she saw her daughter had been hit. In the heat of the moment, she forgot to put her car in park.
The officer noticed this and quickly jumped out of his squad car and into her vehicle, putting her car in park and keeping it from rolling down the street.