A Benson mother and son were struck by a car Thursday morning while walking to the child’s school bus stop, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
The mother, Maria Aguilar Suarez, 34, later died from her injuries at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. Her 8-year old son, Juan Almanza, suffered a broken jaw and lacerations on his head, but is expected to make a full recovery, Highway Patrol spokesman C.E. Summerlin said.
The two were standing in Barberry Drive near Interstate 40’s Exit 319 when they were struck. Troopers said Ma Del Rosario Perez-Valdovinos, 49, was driving her blue Kia along the road when she hit Suarez and Almanza, temporarily pinning them under her car. The investigating trooper thinks neither speed nor distraction were factors in the accident.
“The driver of the vehicle stated that she was blinded by the sun light and did not see the pedestrians,” Summerlin said.
Charges are pending at this time, the Highway Patrol said. Summerlin said that Perez-Valdovinos was driving without a driver’s license, but that the collision occurred on a private road, so no charges can come from that fact.
Johnston County Schools spokeswoman Tracey Peedin-Jones said Almanza attends McGee’s Crossroads Elementary School and that the area near the incident is an expected bus stop and route. Peedin-Jones said the bus was not at the scene at the time of the crash and that guidance counselors are being made available to any students affected by the event.
“The principal and guidance counselors have talked to students who typically ride that bus to make sure everyone is OK,” Peedin-Jones said. “This is a traumatic experience and the school is there for our children and families when these types of things happen.”
Drew Jackson: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104; @jdrewjackson