BELLE CHASSE, La. — A 9-year-old student was seriously injured after being struck by a dump truck that failed to stop behind a school bus stopped to let students out in Belle Chasse around 4 p.m. Wednesday, a report from the Louisiana State Police said Thursday morning.
With its stop signs extended and flashing lights activated, the school bus was stopped in the northbound lane of Belle Chasse Hwy — Louisiana Highway 23.
That's when the 9-year-old student got off the bus and walked away from the roadway, first reports from the investigation into the crash said.
That's also when a Donaldsonville man— with a suspended driver's license— was driving a 1989 Ford dump truck behind the school bus. The driver, 61-year-old Gregory Valentine, failed to come to a complete stop, the LSP report said.
Valentine swerved to the right of the northbound lane, driving onto the shoulder to avoid the school bus, but he hit the student, seriously injuring him.
The student was taken to a hospital for emergency medical treatment.
LSP investigators don't think Valentine was impaired, but he agreed to give a blood sample for a standard toxicology test.
Valentine faces charges of negligent injuring, reckless operation of a vehicle, and driving with a suspended license.
The investigation into the crash hasn't been concluded, LSP troopers said.
"Louisiana State Police would like to remind motorists of the importance of remaining alert and undistracted while driving," LSP Trooper Ross Brennan said in the release. "Taking your eyes away from the roadway for just a short time can result in life-changing events."
Troopers said, they wanted to remind people to stay aware of school buses on the road, especially when the buses are picking up and dropping off children.
"Louisiana law prevents any vehicle from passing or overtaking a stopped school bus with the visual signs activated and has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children," the trooper's release said. "Vehicles are also required to stop at least thirty feet from the school bus and shall not proceed until the bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer activated."