VARDAMAN, Miss. (WTVA) — A truck driver is charged with manslaughter after his 18-wheeler ran over two children at a school bus stop in Vardaman, killing one of them.
Law enforcement identified the driver as James Thomas Murphy, 70, of Vaiden.
Scene of the accident in Vardaman on Dec. 9, 2020.
James Thomas Murphy
Vardaman Police Chief Kenneth Scott said the big rig hauling lumber struck the children at the stop on Highway 8 at Hill Street.
One student died at the site of the accident. A medical helicopter flew the other child to a hospital for treatment.
Calhoun County Coroner Salena Westmoreland later identified the deceased victim as Valeria Montero, 7.
WTVA is working to receive an update on the second child.
Calhoun County Superintendent of Education Lisa Langford said the students attended Vardaman Elementary and it is her understanding they were crossing the highway when the 18-wheeler hit them.
According to Langford, counselors will be at the school Thursday morning.
Here is the statement from Calhoun County Superintendent of Education Lisa Langford:
It is with the deepest regret that the Calhoun County School District must confirm that an accident has taken place this afternoon, December 9, 2020, involving two Vardaman Elementary School students who were disembarking from their school bus. The accident is still under investigation by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, but it is our understanding that the bus was stopped and the children were struck as they crossed the highway. One child has been pronounced dead at the scene and another has been airlifted to the hospital with unknown injuries. No other students or personnel were injured in the accident. The condition of the truck driver is unknown at this time. The District has and will continue to work with the local law enforcement, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and other agencies to assess the incident and determine the appropriate next steps. We would like to thank the police officers and first responders from the area who arrived so quickly to offer assistance.
The District would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family, community, students, and staff of the Vardaman Schools. We understand the emotional impact this can have on all parties involved and counselors will be available at the school in the morning to address any needs. In addition, translators will be on site to assist with the needs of our Hispanic students. Vardaman is an extremely close-knit community, and we know they will come together to support and comfort one another through this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with them during this time.