Six-year-old waiting for school bus killed by pickup truck in Waushara County
Two young Waushara County sisters were hit by a pickup truck as they tried to board their school bus Monday morning.
The crash happened near Plainfield around 7:15 a.m. A 6-year-old kindergartner at Tri-County Area Schools was killed. Her 4-year-old sister, who's in the 4K program, suffered minor injuries.
According to a school administrator, the school bus stopped along State Highway 73 near 11th Avenue with its lights flashing. The girls had already crossed Highway 73 with other family members and were waiting to get on their bus when a Chevy Silverado came up on the right-hand side of the bus.
"The children were standing, waiting to load the bus and the vehicle came around the bus," District Administrator Anthony Marinack described.
The kindergartner died before she could be transported to a hospital.
The school district says the 4-year-old was treated at a hospital and is back home with her family.
The driver of the pickup truck was identified Tuesday as Carl Mullenix, 76.
Sheriff Wally Zuehlke said it appears Mullenix was driving on the shoulder of Highway 73 when he struck the children. The sheriff confirmed the required lights on the stopped school bus were flashing.
It's unclear why the pickup truck, going in the same direction as the bus, came around the right side of the bus on a two-lane road, but people near the scene said it was extremely foggy in the area Monday morning.
Highway 73 was closed for about four hours. Just before noon, the school bus was driven away from the scene. The Silverado was taken away on a flatbed tow truck.
The Wisconsin State Patrol is reconstructing the crash. The Waushara County Sheriff's Office is handling the investigation.
Marinack says seven students were already on the bus when the crash happened.
The Tri-County Area School District says it's working with the community to cope with the tragedy. We're told counselors from the Tri-County and Wautoma school districts and the Waushara County Crisis Team were available for students and staff Monday, and other school districts have offered their counselors if needed.
"We have counselors, we have Human Services from Waushara County is here to help in these instances when students certainly want to reach out," Marinack said.