6-year-old struck, killed while crossing the street to board school bus

Zion Toland (Source: Toland Family)
Zion Toland (Source: Toland Family)

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A 6-year-old boy crossing the street was hit by a truck Wednesday morning while getting ready to board a school bus, according to family members.

According to Lance Cpl. Judd Jones, the child was trying to cross Highway 178 around 7:15 a.m. when the accident occurred.

Family members say Zion Toland and his 11-year-old brother were about to get on the school bus when Zion was struck by a black Dodge pick-up truck outside his grandfather's house.

"The child, he was crossing the street, the bus was making a U-turn, but the bus had no lights activated," said Jones. Troopers said the bus also did not have its stop sign extended at the time of the incident.

The 51-year-old driver of the pick-up truck was not injured. There is no word on any charges against that person.

After the incident, Toland's brother, Fred, wrote Zion a note apologizing to the boy for not holding his hand while crossing the street to reach the bus, family members said Wednesday afternoon.

A representative with Orangeburg School District 5 confirmed Toland was a student at Dover Elementary School and released the following statment:

It is with great sadness that we are confirming that a six year old kindergarten student from Dover Elementary School was fatally injured after being struck by a vehicle while crossing Highway 178 near the Town of North at approximately 7:15 a.m. this morning.

The S.C. Highway Patrol is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. The status of the investigation remains open and no findings have been released to the District at this time.

A crisis response team consisting of school psychologists, counselors, and pastors responded to the school today to provide support and assistance to students, teachers, and parents as they experience the emotions of grief and loss. Our deepest sympathy goes out to the parents and family.

According to the SC State Dept. of Education, last school year, 8 students were hit by another vehicle at or near their bus stop, and 1 student was hit by the bus.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol continue to investigate.

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