This is an opportunity for the community to perform its basic function: an affirmation of support for one of its families. —Glen Cook
SOUTH JORDAN — A 10-year-old girl hit by a school bus Wednesday shortly after being dropped off near her home died Friday afternoon with her family by her side.
Friday evening, friends and neighbors gathered at a park on Cedar Wood Lane, just east of where the accident occurred, to remember Seleny Crosby and show support for her family.
"This is an opportunity for the community to perform its basic function: an affirmation of support for one of its families," family spokesman Glen Cook said in a statement Friday.
Seleny had been in extremely critical condition at Primary Children's Hospital with severe head trauma since the accident Wednesday afternoon.
"The family is with their daughter at this time," Cook said. "They are appreciative of the kind thoughts from their neighbors and across the state. They ask for continued prayers during the most difficult crisis a parent can face."
A crowd of more than 200 people, the majority of whom were children, gathered in the park between trees tied with pink ribbons for Seleny.
The teary crowd filled with parents holding their children a little closer sang "Be Still My Soul" while lighting candles. Matthew Carney, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bishop for the area, relayed a message from Seleny's father to the crowd.
Carney said Seleny wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. She was family oriented and very close with her extended family. He said Seleny was a very spiritual girl and prayed often. She also adored her dog, Snoopy.
When 11-year-old Abienne Townsend moved into the neighborhood, it was Seleny who befriended her first.
"She just came riding in on her little scooter and came right up," Abienne said. "I'm going to miss her."
She described Seleny as a great girl, energetic, positive and determined.
"I know Seleny's in a better place," Abienne said, "and I'm happy that she is with her (Heavenly) Father."
Wendy Fayles taught Seleny and her twin sister at International Budokan Shotokan Karate, a sport she said is a big part of the Crosby family.
"She was just such a fighter," Fayles said. "She worked so hard and was always so cheerful."
A trust has been set up to help the family financially. Donations can be made to the Seleny Crosby Donation Trust at any U.S. Bank branch in Utah, Cook said.
On Friday, at the bus stop where Seleny was dropped off, pink ribbons and feather boas were hung from trees to honor the young girl, and signs were placed on nearby fences.
South Jordan City Councilman Chris Rogers said the council would will wear pink ribbons at its meeting Tuesday to show support for Seleny. Rogers also noted that he would also be addressing bus route issues and the accident itself.
Just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, a Jordan School District bus carrying Seleny, a student at Welby Elementary School, and other children, stopped on 4000 West at 10570 South to drop off students. The bus pulled over onto the shoulder next to the curb, out of traffic. The bus' hazard lights were blinking, but the red stop lights and the stop sign on the side of the bus were not turned on, said South Jordan police officer Sam Winkler.
Seleny got off the bus, went around the front of the bus and darted into traffic when she was hit by a second bus that was traveling the same direction as Seleny's bus.
"She's not in the crosswalk. And because of the sight restrictions of the bus that she was crossing in front of, the other bus driver, there was no way she could have seen her and avoided this crash," Winkler said.
Police say neither speed nor distracted driving were factors in the accident.
One issue still under investigation was whether Seleny's bus was required to have its flashing red lights on, signalling to all other vehicles on the road to stop. Winkler said Friday that both state law and Jordan School District policy were being throughly looked over by detectives before any determination was made.
According to Utah code, "the operator of a school bus shall operate alternating flashing red light signals at all times when children are unloading from a school bus to cross a highway; a school bus is stopped for the purpose of loading children who must cross a highway to board the bus; or it would be hazardous for vehicles to proceed past the stopped school bus."
"It's a tragic situation. The family is very upset. They are very appreciative of all the support they've received," Winkler said. "We encourage parents to talk to their kids. We also want to remind children that if they're getting off that school bus, whether the lights are flashing or not, they really need to be watching out for cars to see if they're stopping or not. We want them to get home safe (and) get to school safe.
"Also, motorists, if they see a school bus on the side of the road, whether the lights are flashing or not, be prepared that a child may run out into the street, whether it's to cross the street or chase a ball or a piece of paper that blew out of their hands. We really want people to pay attention to the school buses that are out there," he said.