The two children who were struck and killed by a van driver as they walked to school in Maryland Monday morning have been named as more details about the fatal collision become known.
The two victims – 10-year-old Shalom Mbah and 5-year-old Sky Sosa, both of Riverdale – were on a crosswalk outside Riverdale Elementary School in Prince George’s County and on their way to class at around 8 a.m. when a woman driving a Ford van collided with them, Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said Tuesday morning.
Responding police provided medical aid to the two students who were suffering from critical injuries. They were both transported to a nearby hospital where they died a short time later, police said.
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Aziz also revealed that a man who was walking with the victims was also struck. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.
The van driver was not injured.
A preliminary investigation revealed that the van driver was traveling southbound on Taylor Road toward Riverdale Road. She made a left turn onto Riverdale Road and struck the victims, who were crossing the street on a crosswalk, police said.
“Two families, friends, are without their children today, at a time when we are gearing up to give thanks for all the blessings that have been bestowed on us,” Aziz said at a news conference, according to NBC.
The Prince George’s County Police Department’s Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Unit (CARU) is investigating the fatal collision. CARU’s investigation could take months to complete, officials said.
A fourth grader who witnessed the tragic incident spoke to FOX 5.
“A lady got out of the van. It was a black van. And then next I saw a whole bunch of teachers running,” the student said.
All activities at Riverdale Elementary School were canceled Monday, including an award ceremony for honor roll students.
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Patricia Ramirez, who was dropping her sister off at school, told FOX 5 she did not see a traffic guard at the school that morning.
“There’s no organizing when it comes to picking up, dropping off at all,” Ramirez said. “Staff is amazing, and they try to help out as best they can but as far as traffic control out here, it’s horrible.”
Millard House II, the superintendent of Prince George’s County Public School, released a statement sharing his grief.
“Our hearts ache as we extend our deepest condolences following the tragic pedestrian accident that claimed the lives of two Riverdale Elementary School students this morning,” he said.
“The entire community is grieving, and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones affected by this unimaginable loss during Thanksgiving week.”
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“As we approach the holiday dedicated to expressing gratitude and cherishing our loved ones, the stark reminder of life’s fragility weighs heavily on us,” he wrote.
“In the face of this tragedy, let us unite, supporting one another and holding our children a little tighter, recognizing the preciousness of every moment we have with our loved ones. Our community stands together in shared sorrow, offering comfort and strength during this difficult time.”