A teenage girl died Wednesday morning when a teen driver passed a stopped school bus — ignoring its flashing lights — in a Philadelphia suburb.
The SUV, driven by an 18-year-old male tech student, struck Minete Zeka, 16, as she crossed Bensalem Boulevard, near Bridgewater Road, in Bensalem around 6:40 a.m., according to police. Zeka, a sophomore at Bensalem High School, was in the crosswalk at the time and trying to get on her bus, said police.
"I don't know what he was thinking," said Bensalem Police director of public safety Fred Harran.
Medics rushed Zeka to Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Harran called it "a tragic event" that leaves two families' lives "changed forever." The district attorney's office will decide whether charges are warranted.
The driver of the 1984 Ford Bronco, which is painted camouflage and has lights on top, remained at the scene following the crash.
Counselors, social workers and additional mental health professionals were brought into the high school and made available for all students. They'll remain at the school for the rest of the week.
"A sudden loss like this can have an effect on all our students. For that reason, we hope that you will talk with your children. Listen to your sons or daughters as well as discuss with them their feelings and reactions to this tragedy. Sudden death is always painful to understand, particularly for the very young and your adolescent may experience signs of stress,” said superintendent David Baugh in an afternoon news conference.
Baugh shared the following signs of stress for parents to watch for in their children:
- Difficulty sleeping - Inability to concentrate - Irritability - Increased aggression - Thoughts of death or dying - Threat statements about wanting to hurt themselves or others - Hopelessness - Isolation - Withdrawal from normal activities or friends - Guilty - Fearfulness and worries - Drug use
For students who are having a difficult time outside of school, Baugh encouraged parents to call the Bucks County Chidlren's Mobile Crisis hotline at 1-877-435-7709 or notify a school counselor