‘You were supposed to protect my child’: Mom speaks after son run over by Moore County school bus

Local News

TAYLORTOWN, N.C. (WNCN) — A middle school student is at home recovering after he got run over by a school bus Wednesday afternoon in Moore County.

Zion Baker, 12, suffered fractures to his left arm and injured his knees during the incident, which happened at his regular bus stop at the intersection of Walker Street and Americus Road.

“Shocking. I keep repeating to myself I got run over by a bus,” he said.

He was returning home from West Pine Middle School and said two other students got off the bus before him. After he exited, he said the driver closed the doors, which shut on his backpack. The driver began to take off. Zion fell out of his backpack’s straps, and the bus ran over his arm.

“Once it happened and she ran over my arm, I screamed she ran over my arm, and then my neighbor helped me,” he said.

His mother, Sarena Thomas, said she got a call from the bus driver after the incident but didn’t get a clear explanation about what happened or how her son was doing, causing her to panic as she tried to get to the scene of the incident.

“My life passed me, like, I thought my child was not alive when she said she ran him over. I just didn’t know what was going on. I panicked. I was just in shock,” she said.

Thomas said her son would not ordinarily have taken the bus Wednesday, but his cross country practice got canceled due to the heat that day.

She said while her son suffered fractures in his arm, she’ll have to take him back to the doctor Monday to examine his arm again. Zion also plans to return to school that day.

“She should pay for what she did to my child,” Thomas said of the school bus driver. “I just think that she should not be driving for anybody.”

A spokesperson for the school system confirmed the driver is no longer driving but did not say specifically what disciplinary action was taken.

“If they’re overworked, underpaid, that’s not my business. That’s not my problem. You were supposed to protect my child. You had one job and you didn’t do it,” Thomas said. “You don’t deserve a job with kids. Period. Not in the cafeteria, not driving a school bus. You don’t deserve it.”

Moore County Schools spokesperson Catherine Murphy wrote in a statement to CBS17:

“On Wednesday, October 2 at approximately 3:55 p.m., bus number 18 was transporting 26 students from West Pine Middle School in the vicinity of Walker Street and Americus Road in Taylortown. A student was injured while exiting the bus at a stop. Injuries sustained were non-life-threatening. West Pine Middle School Principal Doug Massengill, Senior Director of Operations Dr. Dale Buie, and other school and central office staff responded to the scene along with the State Highway Patrol and EMS. Parents were notified to pick up their children at the scene. No other injuries were reported. The State Highway Patrol has completed its investigation and charged the bus driver with careless and reckless driving.  

“Moore County Schools deeply regrets this incident occurred. We are working with the student’s family to ensure a smooth transition when he returns to school in the next several days.  While we cannot comment on the specifics of confidential personnel matters, the employee is not currently driving a bus, and we are investigating thoroughly.”

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