WALKERTOWN — A student at Walkertown Middle School was struck by two vehicles and killed while walking to school Wednesday morning.
The 11-year-old girl was hit just before 7 a.m. — first by a pickup truck while crossing the northbound lane of Main Street, near Leight Street, and then by a Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools bus in the southbound lane, Trooper Ned Moultrie of the N.C. Highway Patrol said in a news release. She was not on a crosswalk, officials said.
Laniya Sebetha Wright of Walkertown died at the scene from her injuries, Moultrie said. She was the only child crossing the street at the time.
Authorities identified Dustin Clay Walker, 19, of Kernersville as the driver of the 1992 GMC pickup truck that hit Laniya.
After the impact, Laniya came to rest into the southbound lane of the roadway, where she was immediately hit by a district school bus — No. 77 — traveling south on Main Street, according to the highway patrol.
Milon Mccoy-Clement was the operator of the school bus, authorities said. The bus was in the initial phase of its route and was not carrying any students at the time.
Walkertown Middle is at 5240 Sullivantown Road, about three-tenths of a mile from where Laniya was hit. Classes there start at 7:25 a.m.
Alex Hoskins, with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, said the school district had extra counselors on hand at both Walkertown Middle and the nearby Walkertown High School.
The district is cooperating with the Highway Patrol in its investigation, Hoskins said.
The Forsyth County District Attorney’s office will determine whether any charges are filed when the investigation is complete.
Both drivers are cooperating with the investigation, according to the highway patrol.
Speed does not appear to have been a factor, authorities reported.
In a steady rain Wednesday afternoon, people brought flowers, Teddy bears, heart-shaped balloons and pinwheels to the scene near the Walkertown Town Office on Main Street.
Levar Kearse of Walkertown left a flower in Laniya’s memory. Kearse, a friend of the Wright family, said he was shocked when he learned that Laniya had been hit while crossing Main Street.
“It was terrible for them (Laniya’s family members),” Kearse said.
Laniya was an easy-going, sweet child who smiled a lot, Kearse said.
Robin Sultan of Winston-Salem accompanied her three children to leave items, including a Teddy bear, at the memorial site.
“We are having a hard time with this,” Sultan said. “We just thought this would give her family closure.”
Sultan’s family got to know Laniya when her children and Laniya attended Walkertown Elementary last year.
Jody Coe of Pinnacle, a Walkertown native and a family friend, said he put a small doll at the memorial site for Laniya.
“I was devastated by the news,” Coe said. “I just thought about my daughter. It could have been my daughter.”
Melissa Shoemaker and Luis Valdez-Cruz, both of Walkertown, also left items at the memorial site.
“It could have been anybody’s kids,” Shoemaker said. “It could have been my kids.”
Shoemaker and Valdez-Cruz said that Main Street through Walkertown typically isn’t a busy road. However, the road carries traffic to Walkertown’s schools in the morning hours as well as Walnut Cove residents who commute to their jobs in Winston-Salem, they said.
The tragedy “could have happened anytime, anywhere,” Valdez-Cruz said. “But this is Walkertown. It isn’t supposed to happen here.”