By Jim Melwert and Syma Chowdhry
BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) — A 16-year old girl was struck and killed by an SUV while she was walking to her school bus in Bucks County Wednesday morning.
Bensalem Police say it happened at about 6:40 a.m. on Bensalem Boulevard near Bridgewater Road.
According to investigators, a School District of Bensalem bus was stopped on the road with its flashing lights on. Police say the driver of a 1984 Ford Bronco ran through the signal and drove past the bus, hitting the 16-year-old girl, who was attempting to get on her school bus.
The teen was rushed to Aria Health Torresdale Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.
The victim has been identified by police as Minete Zeka, a sophomore at Bensalem High School.
The driver of the vehicle stopped at the scene and is cooperating with police. The driver, 18, is a student at a technical school in Bensalem.
“He decided not to stop for that light and for the arm; whether he didn’t see it or he blatantly disregarded it, I don’t know. The investigation is ongoing,” Bensalem Public Safety Director Frederick Harran said.
So far, no charges have been filed.
“You got two sets of kids here. Both lives — one is gone and family is ruined, and the other one’s life is, no matter what happens to him, he isn’t going to get that out of his head,” Harran added.
On Wednesday afternoon, a friend of the victim spoke to Eyewitness News, saying she was devastated.
“I’m so heartbroken that she is actually gone,” said a tearful Danielle Medio. “I used to get on the bus every day with her, but I was sick today, so I stayed home.”
It’s a move that will haunt Medio. She says Zeka saved her life at the bus stop once before — and she wished she could’ve returned the favor.
“She grabbed me a couple of weeks ago to keep from getting hit by a car, and I wasn’t even there for her today,” Medio said.
Grief counselors were at Bensalem High School, where Zeka was a sophomore.
“It was very, very depressing; everybody just looked so sad,” student Samantha Carbalho said.
Parents we spoke with say today’s accident should be a reminder for students to pay more attention when they catch the bus.
There are no crossing guards for high school students — but school officials will see if that policy should be modified and if other changes are needed. They will meet with authorities Thursday and plan to discuss bus safety issues.
“Some of the things we are looking at are increasing bus routes, changing bus locations,” explained David Baugh, Bensalem School District Superintendent.
As CBS 3’s Natasha Brown reports, a candlelight vigil was held for the 16-year-old Wednesday night.
“I know she’s looking down on us right now.”
Candles highlight the faces of grief-stricken teenagers mourning the loss of a friend.
“It’s impossible for me to think that I’m not going to see her ever again. It’s not fair,” said the victim’s friend Meme.
A somber group of students from Bensalem High School gathering in the shadows of the intersection where Zeka lost her life.
“Me being this young, I’m only 14, that I would have friends and I would be losing some, it’s hard to cope with,” said the victim’s friend Dale.
A makeshift memorial near the intersection continues to grow throughout the night.
Police have not released the identity of the driver who struck Zeka, and the deadly incident remains under investigation.
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