By Jeff Awtrey - email
TENAHA, TX (KTRE) - A Tenaha kindergartner died and her brother is fighting for his life when they and their aunt were struck by a pickup truck as they waited to get on the school bus Tuesday morning, according to a representative with Tenaha ISD.
According to a spokesperson with the Texas Department of Transportation, JaLyric Boykin, 7, her brother Nathan Cooks, 5, and their aunt, Danielle Cooks, 14, were waiting for the bus on U.S. Hwy. 84, 1.1 miles east of Tenaha, when a white 2001 Ford F-250, driven by Eloy Lara, 22, of Palestine, swerved into a ditch to avoid two vehicles that were already stopping for the bus.
Lara's pickup truck rolled several times and hit the three children.
Boykin was declared dead at Shelby Regional Medical Center in Center. Nathan Cooks is in extremely critical at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport while Danielle Cooks is listed in stable condition at a Tyler hospital.
Scott Tyner, principal of Tenaha Middle School and High School, said Nathan Cooks' condition is "grave" as he is on life support.
"Doctors say it's up to a higher power now," Tyner said. "And the next 24 hours are the most critical."
The bus had turned on its yellow lights but it had not reached the bus stop when the wreck occurred. DPS officers say the driver did not see the traffic stopping for the bus and swerved to miss the vehicles, the press release stated.
According to Scott Tyner, principal of Tenaha Middle School and High School, all three are considered to have suffered serious injuries, possibly even critical. Two of the students were taken by ambulance to Center and the other was taken by helicopter to Shreveport, the release stated.
The wreck occurred around 7:20 a.m. on Highway 84, about a mile or two east of Tenaha, Tyner said.
Tyner said the driver of the pickup was not hurt in the wreck.
"This is a tragic accident that affects everyone in our community," Superintendent Don Fallin stated in the press release. "We ask that you please say a prayer for these three students and their families. In addition, we have around 20 students and a driver who were witnesses to this tragic accident. Many of them are struggling with what they have witnessed today."
"We would like to thank Joaquin, Timpson, Garrison and Carthage for their assistance and support," Tyner said.