A makeshift memorial has taken shape at the spot where a 6-year-old Shreveport boy was struck by his school bus on Thursday afternoon.
Flowers and a stuffed animal have been left there near the intersection of Winter Garden Drive and Addison Avenue in North Highland in memory of Brendan Houston, a first-grade student at Herndon Magnet School.
Police say he had just gotten off the bus with a group of other students, when it is believed he veered out of the driver's sight. When driver 59-year-old Debra Stevens didn't see the little boy, she began to roll forward and he was struck.
Brendan was rushed to University Health in Shreveport, where he died of his injuries.
As police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the boy's critical injury and death, friends, classmates and neighbors struggle to comprehend the sudden and tragic loss of a little boy described as "always smiling."
Caddo Parish School Board spokesman Victor Mainiero released a statement on Friday morning:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Brenden Houston, who was a 1st grader at Herndon Magnet School. The school will have additional counselors and staff in the morning and as long as is needed to take care of students and staff during this traumatic time."
Neighbors are still reliving the nightmare in their minds. "I heard somebody say, 'Uh oh, oh, oh, oh,' like that," recalled Sara Ward. She immediately looked out her window as the tragedy unfolded near her home, located right in front of the intersection where the accident happened.
Ward continued, "somebody was laying in the road. I thought may a child had passed out, or got knocked down." That child turned out to be 6-year old Brenden Houston.
Ward says neighbors later told her all the other kids who got off took off running. "But his shoe laces had been tied together and when he got off, you know, he was shuffling and he reached down in front of the bus to untie his shoe laces. she did not see him," said Ward.
After the accident, bus driver Debra Kay Stevens could be seen sitting on the grass. Ward described, "the bus driver was out here, right here next to my little bridge just in hysterics, in hysterics."
Shreveport Police say Stevens was taken to the hospital for routine toxicology tests, but that impairment is 'not' suspected.
A friend of Brenden's family, Lou Guess, told us, "I have a great grandson that's in the first grade at Herndon also. And he said that he played with the little boy yesterday at recess."
In fact, we caught up with Guess on her way to Trinity Heights Baptist Church nearby. That's where Brenden Houston's grandfather is an associate pastor and where the family is getting help. It's also where Brenden is remembered fondly. "He was very energetic, just a sweet little boy. He has a little twin sister," added Guess.
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