Marion County school district defends safety of bus stop where 10-year-old was killed

Ja’Siah Williams was hit and killed by a car Wednesday

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – Marion County Public Schools says its bus stop off of Highway 318 is safe.

It’s the stop where the district said 10-year-old Ja’Siah Williams was hit and killed by a car Wednesday while walking to the bus stop with his mother.

FHP said Williams was walking on the edge of the road and his mom in the grass when a 34-year-old driver swerved to avoid a crash and ended up hitting Williams.

Investigators said his mother was not hit and that the driver stopped to help.

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The district’s Director of Public Relations, Kevin Christian, said officials looked at the bus stop since the tragedy and determined it’s a safe stop.

“We haven’t had any issues with that stop. It is on a rural road in northwest Marion County. It’s a two-lane road, with a 55 mile an hour speed limit,” he said.

Christian said the bus stop is located at the safest spot possible on Highway 318.

News 6 went to the area where the bus stop is located and saw utility poles along the road, but no lights. Leading up to the bus stop, there were heavily wooded areas and no clear paths for pedestrians.

Christian said they have about 22,000 students that ride the bus every day in Marion and that likely half of them live in rural areas.

News 6 also reached out to county commissioners to talk to them about the stop, but they did not respond.

The district said that grief counselors were at the school Thursday to help grieving students.

About the Author:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.