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School bus driver cleared in Lincoln accident that injured girl, 6

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Maine State Police Trooper Thomas Fiske (left) and Trooper Larry Anderson take measurements at Ariel and Clark streets in Lincoln, where an unidentified girl was struck by a vehicle on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — RSU 67 school bus driver Casey Voisine will not be charged in connection with an accident that seriously injured a 6-year-old girl, Police Chief William Lawrence said Wednesday.

With the announcement, police closed the investigation into the Jan. 18 accident at Ariel and Clark streets in which Ella P. Burr School student Sophia Nelson suffered compression skull fractures, a neck fracture and a broken femur after being hit by the bus’s right front fender. Police forwarded their report to RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin at about 12:30 p.m., Lawrence said.

A copy of the report Lawrence released to the media appeared to lack a detailed narrative promised within its cover page. Lawrence did not immediately say why that narrative was lacking on Wednesday.

Now Hamlin and possibly the RSU 67 board of directors will decide whether to take administrative action in connection with the accident. Earlier Wednesday, Hamlin said she would review the police report before taking action.

Lawrence had expressed doubt late last week that Voisine would face any charges. Voisine “said she doesn’t recall [seeing Sophia] once she stepped off the bus,” he noted.

“With a criminal charge or a motor vehicle charge, you have to prove 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 late last week.

Voisine, who was described by school officials as a cautious driver with a good safety record, was deeply distressed at the accident scene. Per standard procedure, she remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Sophia has been recovering from her injuries since the accident.

A man who identified himself as Sophia’s father after he answered the door at her Ariel Street address said she had been home from Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor since Saturday and was recovering well from the accident.

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