Two children dead in horrible tractor-trailer crash in Buckingham County

policeA 5-year-old and 6-year-old were struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while running toward a school bus on Route 15 near Dillwyn Thursday morning.

Tori Perez, 5, and Jaiden Bartee, 6, both died at the scene of the 7:42 a.m. accident, according to the Virginia State Police.

The tractor-trailer was traveling north on Route 15 as a Buckingham County school bus was approaching in the opposite lane. The school bus was traveling south on Route 15 and began slowing to pick up six children standing off the north side of Route 15.

As the bus was slowing to a stop, Perez and Bartee ran across the northbound travel lane towards the bus. The bus had only its yellow flashing lights activated.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m. After viewing the video obtained from the school bus, it has been confirmed that the school bus made a right turn from Route 692/Baptist Union Road onto Route 15 to head south and proceed approximately 200 yards to its next stop. As the bus approached the children who were standing off the north side of Route 15, two of the six children ran across the northbound travel lane towards the bus.

The tractor-trailer driver immediately began braking in an attempt to stop for the two children. But the tractor-trailer was traveling downhill and was fully-loaded with 75,000 pounds of mulch.

The bus driver told State Police that when she realized the tractor-trailer was not going to be able to stop in time, she frantically began motioning to the children to stop and get back off the side of the road.

There were no other injuries in the incident. The four other children at the bus stop stayed on the side of the road and none of them was injured.

The Virginia State Police Appomattox Division’s Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene to assist with the crash investigation.

The Virginia State Police Motor Carrier Safety Team responded to the scene to examine the tractor-trailer. The vehicle was in compliance with commercial vehicle regulations, and the 66-year-old male driver from Dillwyn has a valid commercial driver’s license.

UPDATE: 4:50 p.m. Further investigation by the troopers resulted in the tractor-trailer being placed out of service due to several equipment violations. However, it has been determined that none of the violations would have had an impact on the vehicle’s ability to stop or avoid the crash.

Based on the witness accounts and the crash investigation, no charges will be placed.


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