A settlement was recently agreed to, ending a suit involving the 2016 death of a Springville student.
A lawsuit involving the 2016 death of Springville elementary school student, Alyssa R. Hearn, 7, settled for $450,000 earlier this week. Hearn tragically passed away after she was run over by a school bus. According to Ryan F. McCann, the settlement funds will be set aside for Alyssa’s brother, Kyle, and will be paid “by an insurer for the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District, which owned the bus and employed the driver, Laurie A. King.
How and when did the accident occur, though? For starters, the incident occurred Nov. 4, 2016, around 3:30 p.m. At the time, Hearn got off the school bus and walked in front of it, unbeknownst to the driver. Because the driver didn’t realize Alyssa got off the bus, she pulled forward and the bus rolled over the child’s body. The incident occurred right in front of the child’s brother and mother, Katie Fuller. Fuller was coming out to greet her children when the accident happened.
When asked about the incident and how it happened, the driver, who resigned shortly after the accident, told a deputy she was “distracted by a non-student pedestrian on the sidewalk as the boy passed by the front of the bus, and she was unaware Alyssa had gotten off and was trailing her brother.” It’s important to note the bus wasn’t “equipped with an aide to escort pupils or an optional crossing arm, which forces them to walk further out in front of the bus to make it easier for the driver to see them.”
Though King was never criminally charged, she did have her license suspended for 75 days “after being convicted in village court of a traffic citation, failure to use due care, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.”
When commenting on the recent settlement, Ryan F. McCann said the “global settlement was for $450,000.” Kimberly Moritz, the superintendent for Alyssa’s school, would not confirm the settlement amount, though she did say, “no amount of money can ever fill the void left by Alyssa’s untimely death.” She added:
“We hope, however, that the resolution of this matter allows Alyssa’s family at least some solace while avoiding them having to endure a public trial regarding her death. Losing Alyssa is one of the most difficult tragedies that our community has ever suffered, and we continue to express our love and sympathy to her family.”
Alyssa’s death was a tragic one for the community. Many well-wishers and mourners set up makeshift memorials honoring the child’s memory with stuffed animals, candles, and flowers on East Main Street where the accident occurred.