A Colwood mother is raising concerns over a lack of accountability in Sooke School District 62 after her son was struck by a car while getting off a school bus – and left at the scene to walk home alone.
Hudson Judas, 11, stepped off of bus 16 at its stop at the intersection of University Drive and West Campus Road at about 3 p.m. on May 27, mom Kristina Judas told Black Press Media in a phone interview Tuesday. With the bus stoplights flashing, he began to enter the crosswalk in front of the bus when a blue SUV side-swiped him while the driver was making a left turn.
“It hit his arm with the mirror and flung him around, so he hit his head and left side of his body and blacked out for a second,” said Judas.
The incident left Hudson with a concussion and multiple bruises.
West Shore RCMP is now looking for the driver, described as a Caucasian man aged 55 to 60 with short grey hair, glasses and a stocky build standing 5’6”.
As her son’s recovery continues, Judas says her most serious concern isn’t just the collision itself but the inaction of the bus driver after he was hit.
“The bus driver was sitting in the bus, never left the bus, but was yelling out the window, ‘It’s a $10,000 fine,’” Judas said.
According to her son, both men asked verbally if he was OK, to which he shakily confirmed. The driver of the SUV offered to let him sit in his passenger seat, but the bus driver never left his chair, instead telling the boy to run home as fast as he could before driving away.
“The bus driver never called the cops, he never called the transportation department (at SD62), he just left, and Hudson was the last kid on the bus,” she said, adding that the transportation department didn’t know the incident had happened when she asked.
Judas went on to call the Royal Roads University campus security, as the bus stop is on campus, to see if they had reports from any witnesses or security footage available. With their help, she filed a police report.
A Mountie met with the family at the hospital where she was told that finding the driver could be difficult as this particular bus happened to not be equipped with a camera, as many buses in the district are.
Since the incident, Judas has spoken with school district officials but said it failed to alleviate her concerns with the situation as she was told little information could be shared with her due to privacy regulations involving district employees.
“I’ve heard nothing, and everyone just keeps telling me it will all take time, but I’m sorry, a kid was struck. Something really bad could have happened to my kid … he physically cannot do anything for a week and he is emotionally paying the price.”
Judas is hoping her efforts will lead to better training for school bus drivers so they can respond to such a situation more effectively, and for changes to the no-fault ICBC legislation which prevents civil suits being launched as a result of collisions.
In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, the Sooke School District said it was aware of the incident and they are cooperating with an RCMP investigation.
“The Sooke School District will also conduct an internal review of our transportation safety protocols and processes as we do after any incident or accident.”