Posted by Stan Donaldson/Plain Dealer Reporter
January 13, 2009 17:56PM
Taylor Price liked to ride his bike to school, even on cold winter mornings in Cleveland.
But on Tuesday, the 14-year-old James Ford Rhodes High School student's ride ended with him in the hospital after police said a school bus driver struck him in a hit-skip accident.
Cleveland police arrested school district driver Cheryl Hill, 49, several hours after the 6:30 a.m. accident on suspicion of leaving the scene. Hill, of Cleveland, who has worked for the district since 1989, was placed on paid leave.
Police Lt. Thomas Stacho said the boy was hit on Fulton Road near Interstate 71 as he made his way to school. Taylor was in critical condition Tuesday night at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.
The boy's stepfather, Eric Banks, said that Taylor broke both his legs and suffered a punctured lung, broken collarbone and other injuries. He said the boy is unconscious.
"I know stuff happens, but she could have at least stopped, got out and checked thoroughly to make sure she did not hit anyone," Banks said.
Stacho said a witness came into the 2nd District station at 6:45 a.m. and told police a boy was lying in the street. The witness, a woman, left the station without being questioned but told police a yellow bus had left the area.
Stacho said police went to the scene and did not see the boy but were notified that the teen had been taken to the hospital by an emergency medical crew. Police asked for help from school officials, who later that day reported that one of their drivers had probably hit the boy.
Stacho said Hill told police she thought she hit a pothole. Later during her route, the bus driver and a parent saw the bike hanging from the bus.
Banks said a man knocked on the door of the family's West 44th Street home and told him and Taylor's mother that the youth had been hit by a bus.
He said the man took Taylor's mother to the hospital.
"It was very nice of the man to do that for us today," Banks said. "We still really don't know what happened."
Stacho said the accident is under investigation and said police are asking anyone with information to contact Cleveland police.