UPDATE | Three students hospitalized after being hit by SUV while waiting to board JCPS bus identified

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Three children were injured -- two of them critically -- when they were hit by an SUV while waiting on a sidewalk to board a JCPS bus early Thursday morning.  

According to LMPD Dwight Mitchell, the crash happened around 8 a.m when JCPS bus #1141 was stopped with its lights flashing at the intersection when an SUV heading east on Dumesnil did not realize the bus had stopped.

"To avoid striking the bus, the driver of the Cadillac Escalade swerved to the right side of the bus and did not see the 3 children on the side walk," Mitchell said. "As a result, the vehicle struck the 3 children who were all taken to Norton (Kosair) Children’s Hospital with two of the children in critical condition. The third child has serious injuries." 

Mitchell said the driver of the Cadillac was taken to University Hospital also in serious condition and will be charged with no insurance, and no registration. He added that the LMPD Traffic Unit is continuing with its investigation.

"Apparently, he didn't see the children," Mitchell said. "Obviously, a bad decision, and it's a very bad situation that's happened.... Our prayers are with these children that they recover, that's the main thing." 

Mitchell says the school bus was empty when the students were hit. 

Police blocked streets as three ambulances rushed the injured students to Kosair Children's Hospital. 

A woman who lives across the street from the scene says she saw it happen. She says a young girl was trapped under the SUV, and describes the frantic moments she spent trying to call for help.

"All the kids was bleeding -- well I don't know about the little girl because I wasn't here when they pulled her up from under the vehicle. When I left to go try and find the parents, it was just her legs then, that was out. And she was kicking and I guess, trying to breathe."

The children have been identified as 10-year-old Jaconiah Fields, a 5th grader at Dixie Elementary, his sister, 9-year-old Vanessa Levros, a 4th grader at Dixie Elementary, and 8-year-old Phillip P. Neal III, a 3rd grader at Engelhard Elementary.

Neal broke his left femur, bruised lung and pancreas, and a concussion. His family said he received a rod in his leg, which will stay in for eight months to a year, and will do physical therapy twice a week. They also said much of the swelling in his head has gone down, and he is learning how to walk with a walker and maneuver in a wheelchair. 

JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin released the following statement after the crash: 

This morning, according to police, a truck ran a stop light, tried to avoid one of our buses, and struck three children who were either boarding the bus or waiting at the bus stop.  The students attend Dixie and Engelhard Elementary schools. Right now, the district is working with affected schools to deploy crisis response teams. We will continue to provide updates as we receive information.

Mitchell says the driver of the SUV was taken to University Hospital with unknown injuries. There's no word yet on possible charges. 

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