VAIL — The 6-year-old who was hit by a town bus is progressing well, said the boy’s family.
The family has been back home in Illinois for about two weeks and said the child is reading, counting, laughing, walking with assistance in therapy and will return to school at the end of September.
The investigation into the incident, which left the boy in serious condition, wrapped up last week and determined that the town of Vail bus driver was not at fault as witnesses said the boy ran into the roadway and collided with the side of the bus.
No charges will be filed against the driver, who has been cleared to return to work at the discretion of the town.
The investigation was conducted by the Colorado State Patrol and the Vail Police Department and concluded that speed was not a factor in the accident, no drugs or alcohol were involved, there was no indication the driver was operating the bus in a reckless or improper manner and that bus mechanical circumstances had no bearing on the accident.
The child was hit at approximately 7 p.m. Aug. 10 as the bus was headed westbound on East Meadow Drive. According to the report, the boy had been playing with family and friends on the stairs at the eastern-most entrance to Solaris Plaza. Witnesses report the child ran into the roadway and collided with the side of the bus near the front passenger side wheel well. The driver of the bus reported hearing a loud noise on the side of the bus and stopped the vehicle in response to the noise. Witnesses, including the child’s parents, immediately alerted the driver of the circumstance. The driver shifted the bus into reverse and backed up twice, moving the bus approximately 2 feet, to allow the child to be pulled from underneath the tire well.
The child received immediate medical attention at the scene before being transported to Vail Valley Medical Center. He was later transferred to Denver Health for further treatment and was released on Aug. 16 to return home to Illinois.
Bus taken out of service
During the course of the investigation, the Colorado State Patrol performed a mechanical inspection of the bus, a 2008 low-floor model manufactured by Gillig. The inspection identified the presence of oil on the exterior of the right side brake, which resulted in the issuance of an out-of-service warning for a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards and Regulations pertaining to inadequate brakes for safe stopping. In analyzing results of the mechanical inspection, investigators have concluded the braking system of the bus had no bearing on the cause of the accident.
Investigators also reviewed the most recent preventative maintenance record for the bus, which was completed on July 3 as well as pre- and post-trip inspection forms completed by the bus drivers. The forms did not identify any mechanical issues associated with the vehicle. In addition to witness statements, investigators attempted to use images from video taken from a passing bus to help in reconstructing the accident, while noting the video from the affected bus was unable to be retrieved due to a software failure.