Attorney: Boy run over by bus suffered multiple fractures
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Attorneys for the teenage boy who was run over by a Broward Transit bus after his arm was caught in the bus doors described the extent of his injuries during a press conference, Wednesday.
Elie Anidjar, an attorney representing the family of Jerry Cunningham, said the 14-year-old remains in critical condition in a medically-induced coma. "In terms of injury from head to toe, he's got fractures to his head and to his face, he's got fractures to his rib that have initially resulted in a collapsed lung, he's got fractures to the left ankle."
Cunningham ran to catch the bus on Friday at a stop near 1199 East Sample Road in Pompano Beach. Surveillance video shows the boy sticking his right hand between the doors, but the operator, 55-year-old Reynaldo Soto, pulled them shut and pressed the gas pedal while the boy's arm was stuck.
Some riders alerted the driver, and then begin to scream frantically, but the operator makes no attempt to stop the vehicle. "The bus driver kept driving for seven seconds and traveled approximately 100 feet," said Glen Levine, another attorney for the boy's family. "According to the video, it appears that the bus got up to speed about 18 miles an hour."
Brian Clark witnessed the tragic accident. "His hand, from his elbow down, his hand was inside the bus," he said, fighting back tears, "and I just saw the hand, and the kid just running sideways trying to keep up with the bus, and he couldn't keep up with the bus."
Cunningham was then run over by one of the bus' wheels. "The next thing I see is the child drop and then felt the thump," Clark said. "And for this driver to not listen to these passengers screaming, everybody inside the bus screaming, 'Stop,' and he just ignored us."
The victim's mother, who accompanies her son to school every day to make sure he gets there safely, ran behind him and watched the whole ordeal unfold.
As far as any brain damage Cunningham might have suffered, Levine said it's too soon to tell. "He's not spoken. He's not opened his eyes other than the doctors manually opening his eyes," he said.
Soto is now on leave until officials investigate. "It's horrifying, it really is disturbing, and it's troubling that this bus driver didn't use more care," said Levine.
The attorney added that the possibility Soto did not see Jerry when he accelerated the bus does not excuse his actions. "It's likely ... that he didn't see [Jerry], because if you watch the end [of the video], you see him saying, 'Where did he come from?', and the point is that if you don't know, you don't go. I mean, it's as simple as that. That's his job as a bus driver," said Levine.
Anidjar and Levine revealed that they have asked the county to take that bus out of service until they're able to conduct their own investigation to figure out what happened.
The attorneys also said Cunningham is their clients' only son.
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