June 20, 2018
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Lincoln leaders honor schoolchildren for aid at bus accident

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — Town leaders honored schoolchildren Cameron Johnstone and Brayden Lujan on Monday for helping 6-year-old Ella P. Burr School student Sophia Nelson when she was hit and seriously injured by a school bus last month.

The Town Council voted unanimously to award the two a commendation for comforting Nelson and for getting help for her until paramedics arrived, Town Council Chairman Steve Clay said.

“They are right around Sophie Nelson’s age, so that was quite a thing for them to do,” Clay said Tuesday. “I think it was outstanding that they were able to keep cool enough heads to do that at such a young age.”

Nelson suffered compression skull fractures, a neck fracture and a broken femur in the Jan. 18 accident and has been home from Eastern Maine Medical Center since Jan. 28.

Sophia told police she was hit by the bus’s front fender after getting off the bus at about 2:45 p.m. at Ariel and Clark streets. RSU 67 bus driver Casey Voisine, who was deeply distressed by the accident, told police that she last saw Sophia just before the first-grader left the bus, police have said.

Police cleared Voisine of any criminal wrongdoing in the accident because investigators found no evidence of intent or negligence. The school ended the administrative leave with pay she had been placed on, per standard procedure, when she was cleared.

RSU 67 Superintendent Denise Hamlin described Voisine as a cautious driver with a good safety record, and Police Chief William Lawrence called the accident “every bus driver’s nightmare” and a tragedy for the Nelson and Voisine families.

The crowd at Monday’s meeting gave Johnstone and Lujan a standing ovation when the award was given, Clay said.

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