North Callaway student killed in bus accident

Emergency officials block off Co. Road 182 after an accident involving a pedestrian and school bus on Tuesday near Williamsburg. Authorities blocked off the road at the intersection of Old U.S. 40 and Co. Road 182 after the accident.

Emergency officials block off Co. Road 182 after an accident involving a pedestrian and school bus on Tuesday near Williamsburg. Authorities blocked off the road at the intersection of Old U.S. 40 and Co. Road 182 after the accident. Photo by Stephanie Backus.

— An accident with a North Callaway R-I school bus resulted in the death of a student Tuesday afternoon.

Officials with the Missouri Highway Patrol confirmed that Hunter Pitt, 6, was killed when getting off the bus at approximately 4:10 p.m. on County Road 182 near Williamsburg.

“A 6-year-old boy was exiting the bus with at least one other student,” said Sgt. Paul Reinsch with the Highway Patrol. “Apparently the bus driver (Willie Leonberger) didn’t realize the students weren’t all clear and pulled away.”

He said Pitt was pulled under the bus and run over. According to the Highway Patrol report, "the accident occurred as pedestrian 1 had just exited vehicle 1. Pedestrian 1 walked into the path of vehicle 1 and was struck." Pitt was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved,” North Callaway Schools Superintendent Bryan Thomsen said.

Thomsen said he could not “give any information or confirm anything at this time” about the accident, although he did confirm the district owns all of its buses.

Reinsch said none of the other 22 students on the bus were injured, although they had to wait for another bus to arrive to take them home as emergency officials began their investigation into the accident.

“Any time we have a fatality with a school bus, we call in the Major Crash Team,” Reinsch said. “It will take several weeks for that report to come out.”

Reinsch said any potential charges against Leonberger would be determined by the investigation.

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