Edmond Boch III has a painful message for parents everywhere.
"Basically all I want to say to parents is make sure you go home and hug your kids tonight," Boch III told NBC10. "You don't know if they are gonna be there tomorrow or not."
Boch's son, 6-year-old Edmond Boch IV was struck and killed by a school bus Monday morning in Waterford Township, NJ.
The boy was at the bus stop across the street from his home on Aqua Lane shortly before 8:30 a.m. when his bus arrived. Boch's parents say he walked in front of the stopped bus towards the passenger side as he normally does. This time however it was pouring rain, which may be why the driver apparently did not see him.
The bus began to drive off as Boch was walking and the boy was struck and killed.
Boch III had just left for work shortly before his son's death.
"He gave me a hug and kiss and said, 'I'll see you later, I love you dad,'" Boch III said. "Next thing you know I got a phone call that he was hit by a bus. I come driving down the road and he's lying on the ground dead."
Boch III said his wife witnessed her son's death. Another witness, Anthony Lugo, comforted her before going after the school bus.
“I gave her my coat to cover her son,” Lugo said. “I was standing there waiting for the cops to come on the scene. Next thing you know we saw the bus coming. We ran into the middle of the street to wave it down. He decided to turn around and go the other way. So I jumped in my mother’s car and went after him. And made him return to the scene of the crime.”
According to witnesses, the bus driver, didn't initially realize he had struck the boy.
"The driver absolutely didn't know," said Jennifer Cummings. "He was in shock too."
The driver, who has not yet been identified, was questioned by police. Toxicology tests were also performed. Officials with the school district say the driver is a substitute bus driver who has worked with Hillman's Bus Company for 25 years.
Still dealing with grief, Boch III now wants answers.
"I just want to know if he saw the kid," he said. "If he saw my son. Why didn't he stop?"
Boch IV was a first grade student at Atco Elementary School. The school is providing counseling services for students as police continue to investigate the accident and the family continues to cope with their loss.
"I want him back," Boch III said while in tears. "I want him home. I want him in our arms. I want to play with him at night. I want to do his homework with him."
On Tuesday, Dan Hillman, owner of Hillman's Bus Company, released a statement on the boy's death.
"This was a tragic accident," Hillman wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the entire community."
Hillman also told NBC10 that both the company and the bus driver are cooperating fully with the investigation.
Also on NBC10.com:
- Father of 3, Dog Killed in Hit-&-Run
- Student Hurt After School Bus,Car Collide
- Man Charged in Crash That Killed 3 People