GREENWOOD, Ind. — A 14-year-old who was struck by a vehicle Thursday morning has been released from the hospital and investigators are still looking for the driver and the car responsible.
Greenwood Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Terry Terhune said the teen’s family had given permission for the school to release the information. Police described the teen’s injuries as minor. According to Terhune, doctors told the family it was a ‘miracle’ that the student wasn’t seriously hurt.
“We are very fortunate that this wasn’t a worse circumstance,” Terhune said during a Thursday afternoon briefing. “Most importantly, though, we just want parents to be aware you do have to stop when a school bus puts its stop arm out. That’s the law. Please follow the law to keep our kids safe.”
Terhune said parents were notified of the incident and counselors were made available to students.
The incident happened around 7 a.m. when police said a black sedan heading eastbound on Main Street near Meridian struck the 14-year-old while he was crossing the street to get on the school bus. The bus had its stop arm out, meaning all nearby drivers needed to stop.
“It’s real frustrating, you know. The red lights are flashing, there’s a stop sign that’s out and even to hit the student, you know you hit someone and still they took off and fled from the scene,” said Greenwood police deputy chief Jason Holtzleiter.
Deanna McFarland said she was sitting on her porch having a coffee when she saw a school bus drive by and then heard the sound of a crash.
“I saw the school bus go by and I know that there are children who live a couple doors up and I mean it’s not like it doesn’t come by every day,” she said. “Next thing I know I heard a crash and then after I heard the crash, I heard excruciating screaming.”
McFarland said she ran inside to call 911 but as she grabbed her phone, she could already hear the sirens roaring towards the scene of the crash, which is nearby both police and fire headquarters.
“I cannot believe that someone would hit a child and take off,” said McFarland.
Initially, Greenwood officials said the teen suffered a possible head injury, but was conscious as he was taken to the hospital. Officials later said he learned he suffered minor injuries and had been released from the hospital.
“This situation could have been so much worse,” said James Ison, chief of police for the Greenwood Police Department.
“When I got the call this morning, I was driving into work and my heart skipped a beat when the call came out,” Ison said. “Immediately, I was on the phone with the officers at the scene trying to get the status of the juvenile who was struck.”
Ison said he was relieved to hear the child was stable as officers began their investigation into what happened and tried to track down the driver and vehicle responsible. He appealed to the driver to come forward.
“This can be resolved very easily,” the chief said. “We are going to continue to investigate and find out who did this. They can only help themselves by doing the right thing and coming forward.”
Ison said police were looking for any possible video from homes and businesses in the area. He also said the department recently formalized a partnership with Ring to provide footage from its cameras, giving them additional resources.
The vehicle should have front-end damage, police said.
Greenwood police also said they would review license plate reader cameras throughout the city in their effort to locate the vehicle.
“Slow down. It’s not worth speeding… going real fast to get somewhere; you’re not going to save that much time in the consequences of it if you do hit someone or leave the scene of an accident can come back to haunt you,” said Holtzleiter.
If you saw anything, you’re asked to call (317) 882-9191 or go to the police department’s webpage to make an anonymous report.
According to Greenwood police, between 2020 and 2021, 15 citations and warnings have been issued to drivers for passing a school bus. Five of those citations were issued in 2020, nine were issued this year, along with one warning.