RUMFORD, Maine — A community is in shock over the tragic death of a 6-year-old boy.
Police say a school bus hit the child in Rumford Wednesday afternoon.
They say the boy didn’t see the bus until it was too late.
Six-year-old Jayce Holt was a first grader at Rumford Elementary School. Thursday, grief counselors were at the school helping his classmates cope with the tragedy.
Police say Jayce Holt was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk when he rode into a crosswalk.
Police say the young boy didn’t recognize the bus was turning left, until it was too late.
“When I got to the hospital, he was flatlined. They kept trying to work on him. He came back a couple times,” aunt Bernadette Quarantiello said. “There was no saving him.”
Jayce’s cousin was one of four students on that bus.
He saw Jayce on his bike.
“He was so excited to see me. He was happy to go to basketball practice. I tried to tell him it wasn’t today. But he didn’t hear me and rode down, skidded in the dirt, and then went under the tire,” cousin Damian Murphy said.
Jayce’s aunt says the child’s mother is devastated.
“There’s no reason a 6-year-old should have got hit by a school bus,” Quarantiello said.
While the accident remains under investigation, police say Jayce didn’t have time to stop.
They say he fell and was hit by the rear tires of the school bus.
“I don’t blame the bus driver, I also don’t blame the student,” said Catherine Sanchez, whose sons were classmates of Holt. “It’s a freak accident.”
The accident left Meghan Beale’s young son without a best friend.
“He’s devastated. I have to go and tell my kid that his best friend passed away,” Beale said. “I couldn’t shield my kid from seeing his best friend laying in the street.”
Pastor Tony Rea says Jayce and his sister started coming to his church at Christmas.
“He was a good boy,” Rea said. “He was very inquisitive. He always asked a lot of questions.”
He says members of the church are filled with grief.
“Especially the Sunday School teacher. She is, I mean, she’s just crying her eyes out right now. And she’s gotten to love him so much,” Rea said.
The community will hold a vigil at 7:30 Thursday evening where the accident happened, for the little boy and his family.