WINDHAM — A Windham Middle School student was hospitalized after being hit Thursday morning by a driver who police say failed to stop for a stopped school bus as the boy crossed the street to board the bus.

Police said Xin Kao Chen, 11, who goes by Peter at Windham Middle School, was in stable condition at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

The crash happened when a Lewiston man driving a Toyota 4Runner failed to stop for the bus’s stop sign and signal lights at the intersection of Tandberg Trail and Gin Mill Road at 6:43 a.m., said Sgt. David Thomas.

Ryan Boucher, 22, was driving west and the bus had been heading east. The SUV hit the boy, who was carried for some distance on the hood before he was thrown forward onto the ground, a witness said.

Paul Penna, principal at Gray-New Gloucester High School, said he was stopped behind the bus when he heard its horn sounding. He didn’t see the collision but did see the SUV as it passed him.

“The boy was on the front of his truck when he went past me,” Penna said. “He went a little airborne then he rolled down the street.”

Penna said he went to the boy and kept him still, using the boy’s backpack as a headrest.

The boy suffered cuts and scrapes on his face. School officials said later that he had broken bones but his injuries were not life-threatening. There was extensive damage to the SUV, police said.

The boy was upset but wanted to get up and go home, Penna said. He comforted the boy until police and rescue workers arrived.

Penna said he told the driver of the SUV to call 911 but the man was too upset.

“Obviously, he was hysterical. Immediately, he realized what he had done,” Penna said. “He was in his own state of shock.”

Penna said the bus driver later told him that he had seen the SUV go through a stoplight at the crest of a hill, headed toward the bus. The driver told Penna that he tried to get the boy, who was in the middle of the road, to go back, but it was too late.

It was still dark, so there was no way the driver could have missed the flashing red lights on the bus, Penna said.

The boy, who is originally from China, was the first student on the bus driver’s route, said Thomas, the police sergeant. School officials said the middle school teacher who works with students learning to speak English went to the hospital to be with the family.

Boucher will be charged with failing to stop for a school bus, but the full extent of the charges won’t be known until the accident reconstruction is complete and police officers meet with prosecutors, said Thomas.

Boucher offered no explanation, Thomas said.

“We had all kinds of icing problems, but that didn’t seem to be a problem at the scene of that accident,” Thomas said.

The school department dispatched another bus to pick up the remaining students.

Penna said the incident should be a reminder to motorists to slow down in the morning and be alert for children.

“School buses and kids. That’s what the morning is,” said Penna. “You get to work five minutes late — oh well.”

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.