Harford County family says buses are needed after student hit while walking to school

BEL AIR, Md. - A Harford County family is considering filing a petition to augment how the school system designs its bus routes after a 15-year-old high school student was hit by a car on her way to school. 

She's sporting bumps, bruises and a black eye, but Katherine England says she didn't realize at first what had happened.

"I woke up with ambulance around me and they were about to load me onto the ambulance," she said.                

Last Friday, the 15-year-old was walking to school when she was hit by a car.  It went down just before 7 a.m. as the Harford County teen was crossing the parking lot of a business near Patterson Mill Junior Senior High School.

"I looked both ways and I saw that a car was coming from the left, and I thought it was far enough away that I had time to cross,” Katherine said.  “I started walking across, and then it hit me."

It was a scary situation for her, prompting a phone call no parent wants to receive.

"At that point your heart sinks," Tim England, her father, said.

But over the last five days his angst has turned into agitation.  Tim said Katherine's 30-minute walk from their house in Hunters Run Village to Patterson Mill Junior Senior High School takes her on busy, congested roads, and forces her to cross multiple businesses as drivers are heading to work for the day.

"That's ridiculous.” Tim said.  “She had a bus before. She needs a bus now. If there was a bus this wouldn't have happened."

Harford County Public Schools officials said bus transportation is not provided to students who live less than a mile-and-a-half from their middle or high school.

"Last year was the first year she had to walk. Before that she had a bus," said Tim. "It's 1.3 miles. It's too far. She needs a bus."

School officials modified bus routes before the start of last school year to save money. That plan also included eliminating an exception to the mile-and-a-half rule made for many students who go to Patterson Mill Junior Senior High School.

Katherine said she typically walks to school with a friend, and tries to avoid the major roads in the area.  The wreck could have been a lot worse.

"I had X-rays and for the most part, other than a concussion, everything was fine," Katherine said.

The Englands say they want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.  They're speaking with a lawyer, and plan to start a petition as well as meet with the school board to see if anything can be done.

"Does somebody have to be killed before we decide the bus is the way to go," said Tim.

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