GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. - A trip to school turned tragic for a Greene County family. A 12-year-old boy died Thursday morning while following his sister to get on a school bus.
Tennessee Highway Patrol officers tell News 5 it happened around 6:40 a.m. at the 400 block of Holder Road.
THP has identified the victim as Austin Bauhgard. We learned from school officials he was a seventh grader at Chuckey Doak Middle School. We're told he was crossing in front of the bus and the driver didn't see him.
In a matter of seconds, a typical school day turned tragic.
State troopers tell News 5 that 12-year-old Austin Bauhgard died Thursday morning after being hit by a Greene County school bus. "The child was attempting to board the bus when he was struck and killed," said THP Lieutenant Jarrett Ramsey.
Lt. Ramsey said the bus was making its first stop of the day.
THP reports state Austin was suspended from riding the bus for the week, and the driver watched the sister sit down in the mirror. As she asked him to wait on her brother, it was too late. "The child was, at my understanding, killed at the scene," Lt. Ramsey said.
Cheryl Shelton said her heart hurts knowing her 12-year-old neighbor won't be back to visit. "He was a sweet little boy. He always came out to help me when I needed to have something done. He would help me mow the yard or weed-eat the grass," said Shelton.
The pain runs deep just a few miles away at Chuckey Doak Middle, where Austin's classmates and teachers are beginning the grieving process. "The building was very quiet. Students were very respectful," said Vicki Kirk, Greene County's Director of Schools.
Kirk told News 5 counselors will be on campus for students and staff. "We're also going to meet with all the bus drivers in the morning just to reinforce the importance of their job every day," Kirk explained.
But for one child, it's a tragic accident that can never be undone.
"We know that now he's in a better place," said Shelton.
Vickie Kirk told News 5 the driver of the bus will not be running a route again until the THP's investigation is complete.