TENAHA, TX (KTRE) - A fatal accident at a school bus stop has left a 7-year-old girl dead and two other students in serious condition. JaLyric Boykin was killed in the crash. Her brother, 4 year old Nathan Cooks was taken by helicopter to a Shreveport hospital and reported to be in extremely critical condition. The children's aunt, 14 year old Danielle Cooks was taken to a Tyler hospital and is in stable condition at a Tyler hospital.
Hours after this morning's accident family members are still standing at the end of their driveway wondering how something so routine as waiting for the bus, could turn into something so tragic. "The little girl was right here in the water," indicated Jackie Downing to an open ditch. The accident witness continued, "The other little girl was on top of her. The little boy was knocked down the road." Downing was one of two drivers who came to a stop when she saw bus number four approaching from the opposite direction. She says the yellow lights were on as she watched the bus begin to stop. Then something from the rear caught her attention. "We were stopping when the man came around," said Downing. The pickup truck drove down the shoulder, eventually rolling over on to the children. "We got out to get the kids. They were face down in the water. The one little girl we ended up trying to do CPR on," said Downing.
Victoria Cooks, the 15 year old aunt to the younger children and the sister to the ninth grader saw it all. "He hit my sister, my little niece and nephew and there were still breathing for me and the little boy went all the way down that road," described Cooks. "I was crying and everything. I went in to tell my mother, and at first she didn't believe me."
School authorities say the children were following all the rules. They were in the driveway, standing way back from the busy Highway 84. A principal said if they had broken the rules they may not have gotten hurt.
Yellow ribbons are already on the doors of the Tenaha school to show support for the deceased and injured. Principal Scott Tyner is there for a concerned school and his good friend, the bus driver with 39 years of experience. "The bus driver is a very valuable employee. A very good friend of mine. He's visibly shaken up. Still is. We know he followed procedure to the 'T'."
Witnesses say the pickup driver, Eloy Lara, 22, of Palestine said at the scene he didn't see the stopped bus. A Department of Public Safety investigation will make that determination. Charges are pending.
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