Pennsauken hit-and-run: School bus driver flees after hitting teen, police say

PENNSAUKEN, NJ (WPVI) — Pennsauken police are investigating after a teenager on a bicycle was the victim of a hit and run involving a school bus.

Police say it happened around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on the 1600 block of Bethel Avenue.

“It’s really tough,” said the victim, Manuel Rodriguez, 15, of Pennsauken. “I could have died.”

Investigators say Rodriguez was riding his bike to Pennsauken Skate Park with friends when a bus driver hit him with the front passenger side of the bus.

According to police, the driver and the teenagers had a brief conversation before the driver took off.

“Something happened, she was aware of it and she chose to leave,” Pennsauken Police Department Capt. Gerry Henkel said.

According to the police, the driver had a duty to remain at the scene.

“You wouldn’t expect that from a bus driver,” Henkel said.

A witness at the scene took a photo of the driver’s tag and gave it to the police.

Pennsauken police said the bus company, Yellow Bird Co. of Philadelphia, is cooperating with the investigation.

Yellow Bird tells Action News they have suspended the driver pending the outcome of the investigation.

Rodriguez was overcome with emotion as he described the incident. He says the driver never stayed to help him.

“Knowing that a bus hit me…you just ran,” Rodriguez said.

“He crumbled, he almost went under,” said Ron Raymey of Pennsauken.

Raymey says he saw the bus driver stop and talk to the teenagers before she left.

“She went up where the bump was, came back from the bump, [said] ‘Are you OK?’ And they all got on the bus,” says Raymey.

Rodriguez’s mother says she doesn’t want another parent to go through this pain.

“The driver shouldn’t be driving, I’m sorry. Because she’s carrying children on the bus, she’s a bus driver. So why be on the road if you can’t drive?” she says.

Without a bike and his arm in a sling, Rodriguez says he’s grateful to come away with minor injuries.

“It’s ridiculous how the world is going, but God is with me. Thank God I wasn’t killed,” Rodriguez said.

Police say no children were on the bus at the time of the incident.

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