LINCOLN, Maine — The 6-year-old Lincoln girl who was hit by a school bus last week told a police detective that she was hit by the vehicle’s right front bumper shortly after getting off the bus, Police Chief William Lawrence said Thursday.
Sophia Nelson, who was interviewed by Detective David Cram at a Bangor hospital on Wednesday, “describes walking in front of the school bus and never clearing the bus and getting run over from the front,” Lawrence said. “Probably she stayed underneath the bus until the bus cleared her.”
RSU 67 school bus driver Casey Voisine told police that she last saw Sophia just before the first-grader stepped off the bus, Lawrence said. Voisine “said she doesn’t recall [seeing Sophia] once she stepped off the bus,” he added.
Voisine, Lawrence said, probably won’t face any criminal or motor vehicle charges in connection with the Jan. 18 accident at Ariel and Clark Streets. The accident occurred at about 2:45 p.m.
Sophia suffered compression skull fractures, a neck fracture and a broken femur in the bus accident. Lawrence said she might be released from Eastern Maine Medical Center this weekend.
“With a criminal charge or a motor vehicle charge, you have to prove [criminal] intent, and we are not seeing intent at this point in time. We have even looked at negligence and we are not seeing it at this time,” Lawrence said.
Voisine, who was described by school officials as a cautious driver with a good safety record, was deeply distressed at the accident scene, Lawrence has said.
“This has to be every school bus driver’s nightmare. I think she is going through her own torment now,” Lawrence said.
Per standard procedure, Voisine remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the police investigation, school officials have said. Police hope to finish the investigation by early next week.
Through an intermediary, RSU Superintendent Denise Hamlin said school officials won’t take any action until police give them their investigation report. Until that happens, it’s unclear exactly what steps school officials will take, Hamlin said.